Big pharma might cut R&D, delay new drugs if more generics with pharmacare

ANDY BLATCHFORD | April 15, 2019

Brand-name drug companies could put off introducing new medicine in Canada and scale back research here if the country makes a major shift to cheaper generic alternatives under a national pharmacare plan, according to an internal federal analysis. The concerns were included last year in a briefing document for federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau that explored the feasibility and costs of a pharmacare program. Pharmacare is shaping up as a key campaign issue in the October election, particularly for the Liberals. The Finance Department's analysis was created a few days before Morneau's 2018 budget officially launched an advisory group on Canada-wide pharmacare, which the Liberals say will cut costs and improve Canadians' access to prescription drugs. The document said more information is needed to fully understand how national pharmacare would affect drug spending in Canada — and what it would mean for revenues and business operations for the domestic pharmaceutical industry.

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