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In any society, the value of institutions as political, economic and social organs cannot be separate from these organizations. It is important to note that public institutions realize more political influence and are subject to many politics given their value in society. In understanding the politics of healthcare systems and more specifically, that of the pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders in pharmacy, the political landscapes of Canada must be taken into account (Fierbel, 2015). It is important that the issues (of a political nature) be debated upon, and their relationship with healthcare is carefully analyzed. Some of the most politically influenced issues include funding, governance, and federalism. All three are critical issues that often realize much political debate both within the pharmaceutical circles and without them (Fierbel, 2015).
The course looks into how the Canadian healthcare industry is structured and the competing political influences that continue to shape the industry. One of the most critical perspectives that one can look at the politics of the healthcare system is a critique of key policy debates and the political issues that surround said debates. An assessment of the cost benefits of the health care systems is an important marker of the progress that has been made about the politics of the pharmaceutical industry in Canada (Fierbel, 2015).
There are three levels of analysis that provide a thorough analysis of the influences that affect healthcare industry and are capable of realizing a holistic understanding of the entire healthcare industry. The first is an introductory assessment of the pharmaceutical industry of Canada (Fierbel, 2015). Understanding the administrative and functional structure of the industry is an imperative competency. It is only through critical assessment of the same that the value of political influences can be seen. The concepts that are discussed the same are also subject to thorough definition. An intermediate assessment of the application of these concepts puts these concepts into perspective. The ergonomics of any one industry often realizes a significant impact on the value and operation of the industry. An advanced assessment of policies in the industry will then realize the intrinsic value of the industry and its value as a political institution (Canada’s pharmaceutical industry and prospects, 2017).
The Canadian Pharmaceutical Industry
The pharmaceutical industry of Canada is by far one of the most innovative industries of the country. It has seen significant growth and impactful progress about the manufacturing of generic and innovative medicines. The industry also has advanced over-the-counter drug products which are a significant facet of the pharmaceutical industry. It is imperative that the scope of the industry and the impact of the operations within the industry affect the entire world. The pharmaceutical industry of Canada accounts for 2% of the global market share. In fact, it is the 10th largest market in the world. The sector is composed of small to medium-sized companies, service sub-sectors, and contract service providers (Canada’s pharmaceutical industry and prospects, 2017).
These companies often realize much influence due to the value of the research and development department in the individual companies. For one, the industry has seen a 0.9% compounded annual growth since 2010. This growth has inspired the growth of emerging fields, like biologics and advancement of some of the most intricately designed fields like biopharmaceuticals SMEs. The market share between brand-name products and generic products is a testament to the value of the company (Canada’s pharmaceutical industry and prospects, 2017).
In the recent past, the Pharmaceutical industry of Canada has experienced an overwhelming wave of challenges that continue to undermine the progress of the industry. The entrants of new players in the international scene continue to undermine those of Canada. In addition to this, the Canadian pharmaceutical industry has seen a consistent decline in the growth that it initially saw. Some of the issues that continue to affect the pace at which the pharmaceutical industry of Canada continues to decline include, slow market consumption, lack of new ‘blockbuster products, and even the decline exclusivity of some of the most dominant brand names (Canada’s pharmaceutical industry and prospects, 2017). Internally, the market segments that formerly upheld the Canadian pharmaceutical industries have seen significant internal changes. For instance, there has been a steady rise of patient interest in generic drugs as opposed to brand drugs. Other factors that undermine the industry internally include, the patent expires and policies that major industry players continue to push into practice (Canada’s pharmaceutical industry and prospects, 2017).
The division of brand and generic Multinational and local companies dominate the Canadian pharmaceutical market. Canadas’ industry is essentially dependent on these institutions. A majority of the companies that produce drugs in Canada do not manufacture in the country. They also do not have research and development programs in the country. The reason for this phenomenon is because these companies often seek to cut on manufacturing costs (Canada’s pharmaceutical industry and prospects, 2017).
Changing business models for manufacturers and even competing industry influences have given cause to the creation of policies that may improve the industry. One of the most universally practiced validation processes is the development and approval process for drugs and other medical devices. It is important to note that the increase in technological advancements and even research in medicine have propelled the industry to look into regulation of drugs in development (Canada’s pharmaceutical industry and prospects, 2017).
There are several issues that have to be considered when looking into the drug approval process. There are many ethical issues that are related to the pharmaceutical sector. These ethical issues include issues relating to intellectual property, regulation of product safety, marketing, manufacturing, and advertising. There are also ethical issues in the dispensing of drugs too.
- Ethics of intellectual property
Intellectual property rights provide protections for trademarks, copyrights, and patents. Existing intellectual property laws in most countries aim at protecting the inventors and innovators of goods or services by locking markets for production of similar products by competing firms. The idea is to ensure that the inventors of said goods or services, can control the market, make a profit from their good and develop a tested and proven method for mass production of their goods and service. The pharmaceutical industry is aware and keen to adhere to these policies. In case a new drug is developed by a company then it is well known that the company enjoys the grace period where they exclusively produce the drug. It is therefore extremely unethical and illegal for competing companies to produce the same product before the patent expires (Noordin 2012).
Patent owners also need to be ethical in the way they make profits off the patented product, and they need to let go of the patent upon expiry. However, many multi-national companies usually try to prolong their patents by re-patenting the same products but with some minor changes. The company can do this by first patenting a prototype and then later on patenting the final product when the first patent expires.
- Ethics in advertising
The role of advertisements has increased drastically in the whole world in the last couple of years. Advertisements are used to change the customer’s perception and influence them to purchase certain products. In the past, most countries pharmacists did the advertisement and campaign for pharmaceutical products. Direct-to-customer advertising techniques were only employed in by some countries to create awareness in the public of the production and approval new drugs for certain diseases. The United States liberalized the advertisement to the public directly although other small companies are still skeptical about it.
In the case of Pharma Care, it was found unethical when its smaller company CompCARE started advertising their drug directly to consumers and also to hospitals, clinics, and physician offices even though large compounding companies are not allowed to sell their products in bulk. They, however, came up with a way to avoid this law in a very unethical way (Noordin 2012).
- Ethics in marketing
Pharmaceutical organizations are done by professional bodies which ensure that all pharmacists uphold a good ethical relationship in the sector. It is, however, hard for ethics to adhered to in a sector where there are large investments to be protected. Pharmaceutical firms employ the expertise of sales and marketing agents to sell their products (Noordin 2012). Some of these sales representatives do not provide accurately but instead amplify the proficiencies of the drug. They also offer free samples without the production company NIL them, and this makes it unethical since all these products need to traceable in the event the drugs in circulation need to be recalled (Noordin 2012).
- Ethical issues in dispensing of drugs.
Rational drug therapy is one of the most sensitive practices in medicine. There are a set of ethical regulations that govern how drugs are dispensed to patients. It is important to ensure that in dispensing drugs, pharmacist includes in their service information on how the drug is used. More than that, pharmacists are required to disclose whether the drug in use is new or currently in circulation, the side effects of using the drug and even preferred diet given potential interaction with other foodstuffs. Some of the most severe side effects when it comes to drug use include, renal failure. Taking more or less dosage of drugs also has effects that all patients need to be aware. Other product information like registration information and precautions that need to be observed in use of the drugs (Noordin 2012).
Brown, C. (2016). Legal and Ethical Considerations in Marketing, Product Safety, and Intellectual Property Academia.edu. Retrieved 5 March 2016, from http://www.academia.edu/7990724/Legal_and_Ethical_Considerations_in_Marketing_Product_Safety_and_Intellectual_Property_Ka_Chasitdy_Brown
Canada’s Pharmaceutical Industry and Prospects. (2017). www.ic.gc.ca. Retrieved 20 January 2017, from https://www.dal.ca/content/dam/dalhousie/pdf/politicalscience/syllabi%202015-16/4260%20outline%20fall%202015.pdf
Fierbelk, K. (2015). THE POLITICS OF HEALTH CARE. Dalhouse University. Retrieved 20 January 2017, from https://www.dal.ca/content/dam/dalhousie/pdf/politicalscience/syllabi%202015-16/4260%20outline%20fall%202015.pdf
Marka Fleming, S. (2016). Global legal issues in marketing decision making. (1st ed.). Retrieved from https://www.google.com/search?q=pharmacare&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.&cad=b&biw=1382&bih=784&dpr=1&ion=1&ech=1&psi=EiHaVs3tBeHX6ASYpb2AAg.1457164955540.3&ei=EiHaVs3tBeHX6ASYpb2AAg&emsg=NCSR&noj=1
Noordin, M. I. (2012). Ethics in Pharmaceutical Issues, Contemporary Issues in Bioethics, Dr. Peter A. Clark(Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-0169-7, InTech, Available from http://www.intechopen.com/books/contemporaryissues-in-bioethics/ethics-in-pharmaceutical-issues