Competition Bureau and Health Canada strengthen collaboration on key issues in the pharmaceutical industry

News release

January 10, 2022 – GATINEAU, QC – Competition Bureau

Today, the Competition Bureau and Health Canada’s Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB) issued a joint notice to stakeholders highlighting the importance of their continued collaboration to support Canadians’ access to safe, effective and affordable medicines.

Pharmaceuticals and biologics play a key role in the Canadian health care system. The Bureau’s collaboration with the HPFB is crucial to its efforts to maintain competition and innovation for these drugs – which are essential to many Canadians.

The Bureau and HPFB are building on their history of collaboration by committing to further cooperation on Bureau-led enforcement actions and exchanging information on issues of mutual importance – such as refusals to supply samples of brand name drugs to generic manufacturers.

Furthermore, the Bureau will continue to report to the HPFB when aspects of the regulatory framework for pharmaceuticals may impact competition. In turn, HPFB will provide relevant feedback to the Bureau on competition-related issues that affect Canadian’s access to medicines.

For more information about the Bureau and the HPFB’s collaboration, consult the notice to stakeholders.

Quick facts

  • The Bureau and HPFB have independent, but complementary, mandates and roles in the pharmaceutical sector.

  • As administrator and enforcer of the Competition Act, the Bureau oversees competition issues in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • The Bureau and HPFB have collaborated on a variety of issues, such as mergers and acquisitions, deceptive and misleading claims and claims of abuse of dominance. More recently, the ability for generic manufacturers to access samples of reference products has been an area of ongoing collaboration.

  • Given the guidance and warnings provided from the Bureau and HPFB on this issue, branded drug manufacturers should continue to anticipate that the Bureau will treat any explanation for a failure to supply reference products, in a timely manner, with an extremely high degree of skepticism.

  • Should generic manufacturers face similar issues in the future, they are encouraged to bring any concerns to the Bureau's attention at an early stage.

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