The new health research paradigm in Manitoba : implications for partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry

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McLean, David M. I.
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Health research offers a significant social and economic benefit to Canadians with its outcomes contributing to the betterment of society on a global scale. With fiscal reform occurring at the provincial and federal levels, health research funding has been frozen or reduced over the past few years. In an effort to illuminate the impact of these policies, a clearer understanding of the economic significance of this sector is necessary. An economic model was employed to define the relative economic value of health research, and to thereby substantiate further expenditures in this area. It has been shown that relative to the food processing and communications sectors, and to a pharmaceutical manufacturer in Manitoba, health research has been a robust contributor to GDP and employment in Manitoba. Increasing the value of this sector has therefore been a targetted objective. Surveys of the pharmaceutical industry, the public sector and the academic community have been performed to define obstacles, enablers and critical success factors for enhanced investment by both the public and private sectors. Interviews with a stratified sample of pharmaceutical firms more clearly enunciated decision making criteria for R and D investment. Finally, perspectives on technology commercialization were gained from industry, technology commercialization units throughout North America, and the academic research community in Manitoba. It is apparent that governments should support this activity both through financial resources, and through the development of inter-Ministerial policies that respond to the needs of both health researchers and industry. Manitoba has begun to forge such partnerships in this way, and is, therefore, well-positioned to establish open, communicative, partnerships between the pharmaceutical industry, academia and government.