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A spat has erupted in Canada over the amount of money that drug makers spend each year on R&D in the country and it comes as the government takes a closer look at coping with high prices.

Earlier this week, a government agency called the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board released a report showing that industry R&D investment was 4.4 percent of Canadian sales in 2016. This is a problem for the pharmaceutical industry, which committed 30 years ago to maintain annual R&D spending in Canada at 10 percent or more each year.


The latest figures looked still worse when considering two other points: First, the PMPRB maintained that industry spent the same percentage of sales on R&D in 2015. And second, the 4.4 percent was also well below the 22 percent average R&D spending seen in seven countries that Canada uses as a reference point — Switzerland, Germany, the U.S., the U.K., France, Sweden, and Italy.

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