LinkPad: Innovation & Discovery

Health Minister Rona Ambrose delivered a speech this week to the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) General Meeting. In her speech, she re-iterated what she called her “personal priorities”; one of these priorities is innovation. Minister Ambrose emphasized how critical innovation is to improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of care. She noted the importance of association-led initiatives like Choosing Wisely, which was developed through the CMA, and government-funded initiatives like the Strategy on Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) funded through Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Minister Ambrose also highlighted the Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation, which she appointed in June to identify promising areas of innovation and provide advice on how the federal government can better support innovation.

Read Minister Ambrose’s full speech here.

Today, Minister Ambrose visited the University of British Columbia campus, where she made a stop at the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD). Joined by Vancouver MP Nina Grewal, Minister Ambrose was able to tour the CDRD facilities and engage in discussions on health innovation. I’ve highlighted the great work that CDRD does in the past – put simply, CDRD provides a critical bridge between science and business, providing leading-edge academic discoveries with a path toward commercialization. Headquartered in the University of British Columbia’s Pharmaceutical Sciences Building, the Centre includes 35,000 sq ft of state-of-the-art drug development infrastructure and translational research space.

Read the news release - Minister Ambrose meets with world class researchers in Vancouver

This renewed government focus on health innovation is very welcome. Greater innovation in Canada's health-care system, will in turn lead to improved health-care services and outcomes. But, as this graphic from Rx&D shows, new drug discovery, development and delivery to market doesn’t happen overnight. This is why commitment to funding research and innovation over the long-term is so important, and why governments, academia and the private sector must continue to work together on this issue.