Canada has a predominantly publicly financed, privately delivered healthcare system, managed by ten provincial and three territorial health departments.
Life Sciences Sector - Canada
Canada has a predominantly publicly financed, privately delivered healthcare system, managed
by ten provincial and three territorial health departments. The Federal Government is the
Regulator and provider of (tax) transfer payments to the Provinces.
Canada maintains 583 core biotechnology development companies and over 200 public sector
institutions in the biotechnology field. It is considered the third largest biotechnology market in
the world after the US and the UK
The Canadian Government spent $135.1 billion on publicly funded healthcare system; hospitals
account for the largest proportion, followed by drugs and physician services. Private insurance
and out-of-pocket expenses totalled about $56.6 billion.
In 2011, the Canadian medical device market is estimated at US$6.2 billion of which imports
amounted to US$4.6 billion. Imports are largely from the USA.
Canada’s therapeutic development pipeline includes:
ξ Discovery & preclinical 149
ξ Phase I 72
ξ Phase II 77
ξ Phase III 26
ξ Products in the market 42
Canada’s biotechnology sector is primarily concentrated in Ontario 28%, British Columbia 27%,
Quebec 21%, followed by the rest of the regions. Major UK investors in Canada include
AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline.
Several fundamental trends continue to affect healthcare:
ξ A major shift towards ambulatory, community-based practice.
ξ Increased focus on primary and secondary prevention.
ξ Providing services/devices for current ‘boomers’ and projected increase in aged Canadian
ξ Proliferation of co-morbidities and chronic diseases that are stressing the health care
ξ Information technology to better link patients with providers and to bring evidence of
treatment effectiveness to both.
ξ Innovation adoption to enable faster delivery of healthcare more effectively and
Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals
ξ R&D and Technology Transfer: Partnerships between UK and Canadian firms and
academic institutions can be used to leverage these opportunities.
ξ Commercialisation: Opportunities for UK professional services companies that offers
consultancy in commercialisation of R&D, proprietary consultancy, technology licensing,
technology transfer, joint ventures and project financing to bridge the gap between the
critical areas of academia, research and commerce.
Production and trials: International production and marketing partners, as well as clinical
research organisations that are able to design and undertake clinical trials in the UK for Canadian
Latest export opportunities – Life Sciences
Latest export opportunities – Canada
Getting into the market
Within the Life Sciences sector routes into the Canadian market may vary depending on the
product or service being provided. Medical devices are regulated by Health Canada and are
classified according to risk (Class I-IV). The usual route into the market is via medical
distribution representative supplying into the healthcare sector or hospital buying groups.
Biotechnology and pharmaceutical products and services usually enter the market through in-
market representation, R&D partnerships, in-market manufacturing, or provision of services
direct to the end users.
Given the sensitive nature of this sector, establishing relationships in the market is important and
can be developed through various routes including attending sector events in the UK, in-market
or in third markets.
More about doing business in Canada
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
Valerie Strand, Trade Officer (Healthcare)
British Consulate-General Toronto
T: +1 416 593 1290 x 2229
Gilda Carbone, Trade Officer (Biotechnology/Pharmaceuticals)
British Consulate-General Toronto
T: +1 416 593 1290 x 2224
Contact your local international trade team
2-4 October 2012
3-4 October 2012
Medical Manufacturing Innovations
24,-25 Oct 2012
5-7 Nov 2012
BioPartnering North America
BIO International Convention
NB: Location differs throughout North America each year. A significant Canadian presence
participates in this key industry event.
Latest events – Life Sciences
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters