Largely due to regulatory pressure, there has been a shift to greater transparency in the relationships between health care practitioners (HCPs) and life science companies. Many markets already require that pharma companies report all transfers of value made to physicians for activities such as speaker events or advisory boards, but in Canada this has not been the case until recently.

At the end of 2017, the province of Ontario took Canada’s first step toward publicly disclosing physician payments by passing The Health Sector Payment Transparency Act. Created in a similar mold to the 2010 US Sunshine Act, the provincial legislation is aimed at tracking and making public any payments between pharma companies and HCPs. However, after a change in Ontario’s leadership in 2018, implementation of the law has been put on hold. Although this pause has been a blow to transparency advocates, it likely isn’t the end of the road for this issue. For example, British Columbia began consultations on implementing a similar piece of legislation in 2018.

Many major markets already have pharmaceutical transparency laws in place and Canada looks set to join them. The question now is how long it will take for this type of legislation to reach a federal level — not just the two largest provinces in Canada. Whether it’s two years into the future or five years, companies with operations in Canada have already started allocating resources to ensure compliance with future transparency laws.

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