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13 November 2019
The Competition Bureau has conducted a preliminary investigation into allegations that a vaccine manufacturer tried to contractually restrict a provincial public immunisation programme's off-label use of a vaccine product. The alleged conduct could have resulted in higher costs for the province by preventing public health authorities from using competing products in their immunisation programmes.
In July 2019 the bureau announced that it was concluding its investigation because the alleged conduct did not materialise. In concluding its investigation, the bureau published a position statement that identified and provided guidance on some of the competition issues relevant to the off-label use of vaccines and pharmaceuticals. In the statement, the bureau advised that it does not interpret the Food and Drugs Act prohibition against selling products in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive – which may include the promotion of off-label use – as a prohibition on drug manufacturers from entering into a supply contract with a publicly administered programme that may use a product for an off-label use. The bureau further advised that it would not hesitate to take appropriate action if it was provided with "compelling evidence of harm resulting from a manufacturer imposing restrictions on off-label use or any other conduct that excludes competitors".
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