Brand name drug sales soar in Canada, while R&D sags

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Canada’s manufacturers of brand name medicines have once again fallen far short of a promise to invest 10 per cent of their annual sales into research and development.

According to a report by the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, sales of brand name drugs hit a record $20 billion in 2016, yet makers of those drugs invested just $918 million in R&D, or 4.4 per cent of total sales.

The industry made the 10 per cent R&D promise in 1989 in exchange for the federal government extending drug patents from 17 to 20 years under the first U.S. free trade agreement signed in 1988. The deal ensured a longer monopoly on lucrative drugs while delaying cheaper generic drugs from becoming available in Canada.

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Brand name drug sales soar in Canada, while R&D sags

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