Canadian Pharmaceutical Students Guide

The Pharmaceutical Industry, Opportunities, Trends, and Prospects for Growth

The pharmaceutical industry is well developed and innovative, with companies working to develop over-the-counter and generic drugs and new medications. They focus on research and development and medications for asthma therapy, depression, vision loss, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and many others. The sector pools different companies, including medical device businesses, contract service providers, medium-sized and small biopharmaceutical enterprises, generic drug and brand-name companies, and others. Most businesses in the sector are subsidiaries of foreign-based multinational companies.


Pharmaceutical companies in Canada and around the world begin to adopt new policies and strategies to boost productivity and minimize risk. One of the key issues is competition and the fact that companies working for emerging and developing markets post significant growth. The main challenges that companies face include pricing controls, legislation, cost effectiveness, and demand.

Major Classes and Market Share

Companies report modest decline across major classes of therapeutic drugs and significant gains for some subclasses, for example, biological response modifiers. Top classes include:

  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Antiretrovirals
  • Diagnostic aids
  • Tranquilizers
  • Asthma therapy
  • Serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Biological response modifiers

Major classes also include diabetes therapy, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, ACE inhibitors, and calcium blocking agents. The pharmaceutical industry has seen a marked decline in generic prices while more and more customers prefer to buy low-cost medications. To this, the main pharmaceuticals by market share include cholesterol reduction medications, asthma therapy drugs, depression and antidepressant medications, and vision loss pharmaceuticals. Major players on the market focus on different drug classes. Some pharmaceutical companies specialize in medications and technologies to treat inflammatory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and psoriasis. Others focus on medications for Parkinson’s disease, sleep medications, asthma, cancer, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and others. Canadian businesses develop medical devices and aids, OTC products, innovative medications, drug delivery systems, and a lot more.

R&D and Focus

The pharmaceutical sector is involved in immunotherapy, protein engineering, stem cell and regenerative medicine, and vaccine research and development. Some companies also specialize in proteomics and genomics. In general, many companies work to develop, patent, market, and sell medications, technologies, equipment, and devices. Some pharmaceutical companies are involved in early-stage development. Patents are issued for processes and technologies used to manufacture pharmaceuticals as well as for new products. The sector, on the other hand, develops medications for both widespread and rare diseases. Research and development accounts for about 5 percent of sales. The goal is to create improved or new medications and therapies as well as bio-equivalent products to treat and prevent diseases. Biologics is a new field whereby products are synthesized from biological sources.

© Sophs 2015