The Canadian government is not helping fund the company’s $500 million expansion in Canada

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OTTAWA – Drugmaker AstraZeneca is investing $500 million in Canada, creating up to 500 new jobs in Mississauga, Ontario. Furnishings.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford were due to attend the announcement at the company’s facility, but unlike previous announcements by major pharmaceutical companies, the government is not helping to fund the company’s expansion in Canada.

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Pascal Soriot, the company’s CEO, said he sees room for further investment in Canada.

“This is just the beginning because there is such a large talent pool here in Canada that we believe there is a lot more we can do here in Toronto but also across Canada,” he said. “Where better to do that than in Canada. You have all the talent you need here. You have universities, you have great people.”

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Soriot said the company is conducting hundreds of clinical trials at its Canadian facilities and the expansion will expand that work.

AstraZeneca also does a significant amount of work on rare diseases, conditions where often only hundreds or thousands of people have the disease.

The federal government has recently invested hundreds of millions in new plants and facilities for other drug manufacturers. The 2021 budget called for $2.2 billion to be invested in drug companies over the next seven years, and several other companies have received millions to build new factories or manufacturing facilities.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the investment is part of a broader effort to attract more investment in health sciences.

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“We are building a whole ecosystem. We are expanding our research network across universities, hospitals and research centers. We invest in innovations and high-performance tools and new facilities,” he said.

The company employs more than 80,000 people worldwide and is based in the UK. It currently employs 700 people in Canada.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the announcement was a tremendous vote of confidence in the province and he hoped it was just the beginning of much more to come.

“This investment is a great vote of confidence for Ontario in our thriving research ecosystem with our world-class universities and colleges,” he said. “We want Ontario to be the place where medical breakthroughs are discovered, commercialized and developed into innovative products.”

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Liberal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos was also at the announcement and said attracting new firms to Canada runs in parallel with the government’s other goals of lowering drug prices.

“The greater the competition in it, the greater the potential for greater affordability in manufacturing and access to these drugs.”

Duclos faced criticism last week when reports surfaced that he had called for delays in making new changes to the way an independent agency, the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board, sets drug prices. One of the members of that panel resigned, saying the government had consistently interfered in the process and the panel’s attempts to lower prices.

Duclos defended his decisions, saying he was asked for his opinion and interfered because he didn’t want the process to be rushed.

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“I said they needed to consult carefully, even more carefully, with stakeholders and partners so they could find the best possible mechanism to ensure drug prices in Canada are more in line with what we are seeing outside of Canada.”

AstraZeneca was one of the first companies to develop and approve a COVID-19 vaccine, but its vaccine has not been widely rolled out in Canada after concerns arose that the vaccines could cause rare but serious blood clots.

Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID vaccines, which early clinical studies also found to be more effective, were also widely available at the time. Canada has since dumped millions of expired shots from AstraZeneca.

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