In 2019, Innovative Medicines Canada (IMC) and its member companies continued to deliver value to Canadians through the discovery, development and commercialization of life-changing and lifesaving innovative medicines.
Our unwavering commitment to Canadian patients is why we are in this industry. We have seen how new treatments can make a difference in the lives of families; providing a better quality of life for those who suffer from chronic illnesses and giving new hope to those who need it most.
As I reflect on my two years as Chair, it is this commitment to ensuring Canadians have access to the medicines they need that has brought our industry together in the face of the most challenging environment in a generation. Amendments to the Patented Medicines Regulations, which were passed in August, will limit our members’ ability to launch new medicines, conduct clinical trials and make major investments in the Canadian market.
With the amended regulations expected to come into force in July 2020, our members will continue to raise concerns about the very real impacts these changes will have on Canadian patients’ access to innovative therapies and on the future of Canada’s life sciences sector. We will advocate for a regulatory environment that protects and promotes innovation so that new and future discoveries such as gene therapies, cell therapies and personalized medicines can be discovered, developed and commercialized in Canada.
We will also continue to engage with governments and stakeholders on the development of a future national pharmacare program, which, if done right, could close the gaps in the current system and make medicines available and more affordable for uninsured and underinsured Canadians.
Despite the challenges of our current environment, Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical industry has shown great leadership and resilience. IMC’s Board of Directors remains pragmatic, realistic and focused on its priorities. In 2019, IMC launched a three-year Strategic Plan, which will guide the association through 2021. This framework is based on a set of guiding principles that set the standard for how we engage and communicate with stakeholders, governments and Canada’s health systems more broadly with a united voice. The Board also approved updates to IMC’s Code of Ethical Practices to ensure that relationships between industry and its external stakeholders continue to be held to the highest ethical standards.
Our industry also has to anticipate future trends in Canada’s business environment and develop innovative solutions to strengthen the sustainability of our healthcare systems. Part of the answer is evolving our business models to the new digital economy and placing greater focus on data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and outcome-based healthcare systems. The emergence of AI offers the potential for revolutionary breakthroughs in Canadian healthcare research, which could strengthen the sustainability of our health systems and lead to better patient outcomes in the coming years. As innovators, we can and should be leaders in this space.
Another part of the answer is shifting the conversation from cost to value. As we look towards the future, we need to ensure we always measure and communicate the value we bring to patients, to the Canadian economy and to the healthcare system. The innovations we develop and deliver change millions of lives every day. We must continue to work for and with patients, in telling our story and in promoting patients’ perspectives in all our interactions with governments and stakeholders. Improving the lives of patients is our raison d’être. As my term as Chair comes to a close, I would like to express my sincere thanks to my fellow Board members, IMC President Pamela Fralick and her entire team for their continued efforts in supporting our industry.
It has been a privilege to represent our industry in Canada for the last two years. We have much to be proud of as we continue to build a brighter future for Canadian patients.