Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical

What is biotechnology?

Biotechnology is a discipline that studies the possibilities of using living organisms to solve technological problems, as well as the possibility of creating living organisms with the necessary properties by the method of genetic engineering. Simply put, the range of its tasks is extremely wide: the fight against diseases (the creation of vaccines against cancer, hepatitis C, severe acute respiratory syndrome, West Nile fever, etc., the development of new drugs), environmental protection (the use of renewable energy sources, biofuels, reducing harmful emissions into the atmosphere, water and soil purification, waste processing), providing the population with food (creating crops that are stored longer and do not require large labor costs by changing their DNA), etc.

Biotechnology in Canada

In the beginning of 1970s, biotechnology research companies began to appear in Canada. Today, there are about 500 biotechnological companies and research centers in the country, employing about 12,000 skilled specialists. The largest concentration of these companies is in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. Canada consistently ranks second in biotech development after the United States.

Biotechnology is a branch of the future

Experts predict a great future for biotechnology. In recent years, our planet has been facing problems of food shortages, climate change, epidemic outbreaks, population aging, etc., for the fight against which biotechnological developments are extremely important. Both the state ($ 750 million in 2003-2004) and large multinational corporations such as Merck & Co and GlaxoSmithKline (a total of about $ 300 million in 2003-2006) are actively investing in this sector. Now in Canada, such large research centers as Biotechnology Research Institute (pharmaceuticals and ecology), YelLowSin Rapeseed (agriculture) are developing institutions that study stem cells, etc. Research, in this area, is also being carried out by the largest universities in the country (University of Waterloo – control of the mechanism of cell death, McGill University – reversibility of breast cancer in laboratory mice, University of British Columbia – increased immunity in animals).

Pharmacology, pharmaceutical market

In terms of the pharmaceutical market capacity, Canada takes the tenth place in the world, which is equal to approximately USD 21 billion. Since the number of elderly people in the country increases every year, this figure will grow. There are more than a hundred pharmaceutical companies in Canada that manufacture medications. It is noteworthy that scientists try to take into account the known patterns of traditional medicine when creating medicines, study the beneficial properties of taiga plants in Canada.

About thirty years ago, Canada was the second country with the most expensive drugs in the world. This was a very big problem for the population. Since it is the state that regulates this issue, it has adopted a policy based on setting the price of drugs in accordance with drug reviews, negotiated pricing and the use of generics. Generic medications are no different from the original, except that they have an expired patent protection and the price is 20-80% lower. They are marketed under a different name than the branded drug.

Each province of Canada has a body that regulates the activities of pharmacies as well as the professional level of pharmacists. Well, at least the release of X-ray film is not controlled. There are 9 higher educational institutions in the country that train pharmacists. It takes 4 years to study, another year is devoted to practice. There are about 20,000 pharmaceutical workers in the country. This figure increases constantly. This is due to the fact that in the United States the same workers receive higher wages, so there is a drain on staff.

There are more than 7,000 pharmacies in Canada. The largest pharmacy chain is Shoppers Drug Mart. It includes about 1,250 pharmacies. These pharmacies sell both medications and personal care products, household chemicals, baby products, and groceries. The network of these pharmacies pursues an active policy to attract customers – they organize charitable events, promote a healthy lifestyle among the population, publish a free newspaper, which contains discounts and promotions.

In each pharmacy, a special electronic dossier is created for any visitor. It lists all diseases, all the recommendations of the attending physician, prescriptions. If there is an allergy. A person can be registered with several pharmacies. Each of them has his dossier and when moving from one pharmacy to another, the data is transferred. Medicines can be dispensed without a prescription, with a prescription, or without a prescription, but on the doctor’s advice. The buyer pays for over-the-counter drugs, the rest may be partially or fully covered by insurance. In order to obtain a prescription drug, the buyer hands over the prescription to the pharmacist. Instead, he receives a device that looks like a pager. When the prescription is ready, the device works. This means that you need to make a payment to the cashier. After that, the pharmacist is obliged to get the acquainted clients with the medicine, give recommendations about taking it, about possible side effects.

Pharmacists help people measure blood pressure and deliver medications home. Thus, the industry is actively developing, there is a constant increase in the number of pharmacies, but there is an acute shortage of pharmacists.