report by Rx&D, the Canadian association of pharmaceutical companies, confirms an ongoing trend of under-reporting of pharmaceutical innovation investment by government bodies. The report, released in May, shows a consistent 34% under-reporting rate over the past three years.
Pharmaceutical research investment in Canada is tracked by two government agencies, Statistics Canada and PRPMB (Patented Medicine Prices Review Board). The agencies work independently because they are gathering information for different mandates, and use separate methodology, but both produce similar data. However, Rx&D, which is also responsible for considerable self-regulation in the pharmaceutical industry, decided to track their own investments through studies conducted by KPMG and found some serious discrepancies.
Methodology used by PRPMB follows 26 year-old guidelines, which Rx&D feels is at the heart of the problem. They feel, for example, that the $1.11 billion dollars they put in in 2012 simply isn’t being accurately measured. For a field with such strict adherence to pharmaceutical quality control, it’s not surprising that Rx&D cares about accurate data, but there’s more to the problem than just making sure the numbers add up properly.
Striving for a proper recognition of economic contributions
Rx&D want to make sure they are properly recognized for their economic contributions. With lapses as big as a failure to note, for instance, a $101 million investment in a vaccine research that supports 300 highly skilled vaccine clinical research positions (Sanofi Pasteur), or a $150 million Life Science Fund for early stage drug development are some pretty big holes indeed.
From a perspective of inspiring further research, getting recognized also matters because it inspires more government-side investment. From getting workers ready by pushing for things like more STEM education funding in essential skills like HPLC training, to getting the Canadian government to match funding in new and ongoing research projects, there are lots of reasons to get reporting agencies up to speed.
What would you do to make the private and public sector assessments in investment match up?