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Lack of vaccine capacity pushes Canada into global race to attract drug companies




We started, I would say, in a position I do not want to find in the future, whatever comes next, Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne told POLITICO in a recent interview.

But even as the government works to move the country forward with Covid variants, it is determined to lay a better foundation for the next pandemic. Is not alone.

Many countries in the world have come to the same conclusion as Canada, that they would like to have more domestic capacity. … Part of the challenge is getting [companies] their attention and attraction in Canada, Champagne added.

Lessons from the consequences: The lack of biomabing in Canada has highlighted the health risks of foreign as well as political addiction.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has faced controversy over Canada’s program to take up arms doses. Trudeau has predicted everyone who wants to be vaccinated will be able to by September, though he recently said the timeline could end shorter. Only 1.76 percent of Canadians had been fully vaccinated since March 27, and only about 10 percent had received a single dose, according to the Canada Public Health Agency.

Last year, his government signed contracts worth more than $ 1 billion with eight drug companies to list promising vaccine candidates from abroad. Canada, however, will not have the capability to produce its Covid-19 vaccine by the end of 2021 anytime soon.

Criticism has focused on whether Canada may have produced its own vaccines, rather than relying on international drug shipments, some of which have seen delays.

Trudeau has acknowledged that the pandemic caught the world carelessly and had much to learn from it.

Canada at the pharmacy pitch: Champagne, who is the person in Trudeaus for rebuilding vaccine production in Canada, said he was working phones with the pharmacy CEO trying to entice them to invest in the country.

The ministerial sales area includes promoting Canada research institutes, its strong workforce and how it has the smallest population in the G-7.

This is a real advantage because on the one hand you can come here and meet our domestic needs relatively quickly and you can use Canada as a base to export to the world, he said, noting that Canada has trade agreements with Rim of the Pacific, Europe and North America

The biggest obstacle? Champagne, who was foreign minister until Trudeau moved him to his new job in January, says it draws companies’ attention to a crowded global arena.

Upcoming planning: Dr. Alan Bernstein, a member of the Canadas Covid-19 Vaccine Task Force, said in an interview that the pandemic has strengthened the need for governments to partner with the private sector.

For example, he said the U.S. government has succeeded in collaborating with drug manufacturers on a vaccine through the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed. On the contrary, he said the European Union decided it would be just a consumer.

And look who is in bad shape these days, said Bernstein, who is also president and CEO of CIFAR, a global research organization based in Canada. When there is one pandemic and there will be another, of course there is a public interest at stake and therefore there should be a public investment online.

Bernstein argued that Canada falls somewhere between the US and the EU because it secured vaccine doses and began investing in its production capacity for the future.

From evil to evil: He said successive governments over the past 25 years have failed to encourage drug companies to stay in Canada.

We never worried about that because, of course, we had supplies, Bernstein said. There was always a lot going on, so it was never seen as an issue until this pandemic appeared.

Pamela Fralick, who heads the pharmacy industry association in Canada, said conditions in the country have not been hospitable to the sector for decades. In recent years, she said the Trudeau government’s costly regulatory measures have exacerbated it.

Fralick, president of Innovative Medicines Canada, said it before the pandemic relations between government and industry were at a low point. Global pharmacy CEOs, who have the power to drive investment, approached the Trudeau government four times pre-pandemic and effectively received no significant response, she said.

We could not even really get meetings with a minister as an association here in Canada, said Fralick, who added that the pandemic has eased tensions and led to a fragile but positive change.

Trudeau himself has highlighted his direct conversations in recent months with leading global pharmacy executives, including Dr. Pfizers. Albert Bourla.

Global race: Bernstein said the pandemic has forced countries to find ways to support vaccine supplies, an environment that has created supply wars with manufacturers.

“[They want] to make sure that, for the next pandemic, they will not be caught with their pants down, “he said. Every politician is very motivated to fix this situation.

Fralick said the pandemic has really kicked off an international competition.

Almost every country in the world will feel blinded by this pandemic. … Canada certainly not alone, she said, noting that only a handful of countries produce vaccines. We were caught with flat feet.

Effort, so far: Last week, Champagne announced a federal investment of up to $ 415 million toward a new Sanofi flu vaccine manufacturing facility in Toronto. The deal provided a roughly 50-50 split between governments and industry.

Fralick, who does not know the terms of the deal, said $ 50 cents should take precedence over corporate concerns over some of the other issues.

In February, Trudeau announced a memorandum of understanding with Novavax Inc. that would see the company produce its Covid-19 vaccines at a new Montreal facility, which received $ 126 million C in funding.

The facility is expected to be ready to produce vaccines by the end of 2021. The Novavax vaccine is still under review and has not yet received Health Canada approval.

The government has also announced agreements to expand biomass production with domestic companies, including investments of up to $ 173 million C with Medicago and $ 25.1 million with Precision NanoSystems Inc.

What to expect next: Champagne says Canada is in talks with numerous players. We were trying to advance as many of them as possible and I think you will see more coming, he said. I do not have a crystal ball, but I think we need to be better prepared for anything that may come next.

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