A common mistake European orphan companies make when licensing their medications is to look for a North American deal (Canada-USA). Too often American pharmaceutical companies consider Canada as just another state of the United States. It is not the case at all – Canada has its own unique access routes and that has to be very clear when it comes to licensing. This is one of the reasons so many orphan medications never make it to the Canadian market.
With a population the size of California (34 million), Canada presents an attractive and accessible market with an orphan drug landscape that is more similar to Europe than USA. While Canada is one of the few developed countries without an Orphan Drug Act at the national level, there are different programs available and reimbursement mechanisms vary from one province to the next.
The good news is some of us work very hard at making a difference for Canadians living with an orphan disease, as what Medunik Canada has been doing since 2009.
To learn more about access to Canada and its orphan drug landscape, be sure to hear Eric Gervais' talk, "MYTH AND REALITY ON THE CANADIAN ORPHAN MARKET" at the World Orphan Drug Congress USA in 2013.