NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 28, 2007

Canada lags behind several other developed countries when it comes to health innovations, such as developing new prescription drugs and medical devices, according to a Conference Board of Canada report.

The report, sponsored by a group of health care leaders, including University of British Columbia Medical School Dean Gavin Stuart, ranks members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD):

  • Canada's performance is relatively low, despite being the third highest per capita spender on health care, behind the United States and Switzerland
  • Governments in Canada pump about C$92 billion (about U.S. $87 billion) into the health system annually and citizens spend another C$40 billion (about U.S. $38 billion) on out-of-pocket health care expenses.

"The Canadian health care system, when compared with those of other OECD countries, is not a high-performing system," states the report.

Among the study's findings about health care research in Canada:

  • There is little collaboration between universities and business enterprises.
  • Canada has drastically fewer medical patents and applications than other countries.
  • Fewer university graduates in Canada have advanced research skills.

Source: Pamela Fayerman, "Canada lags in health innovations," Vancouver Sun, August 28, 2007.

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