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CETA and Prescription Drugs: A $1.65 billion sellout to Big Pharma

A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives suggests Harper’s “excellent deal” with the European Union could add between $850 million and $1.65 billion annually to the price of medicine in Canada. The report, by Joel Lexchin (York University) and Marc-André Gagnon (Carleton University) explains that Canadian drug prices are already the second highest in the world, “partly due to Canada’s industry-friendly intellectual property policies, which include a generous pricing system and broad protection of brand-name pharmaceuticals.”

The authors argue that even though the EU did not get everything it wanted on drug patents in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement will still:

• commit Canada to creating a new system of patent term restoration that will delay the entry of generic medicines by up to two years.

• lock in Canada’s current terms of data protection, making it difficult or impossible for future governments to reverse them.

• implement a new right of appeal under the patent linkage system that will create further delays for the entry of generics.

Lexchin and Gagnon conclude that these concessions will benefit only multinational brand name pharmaceutical companies, who have not (as they were in the NAFTA negotiations) been asked to reinvest expected profits in local research and development. The additional cost burden, they write, will be offloaded to individuals, or taken out of the public health system. “Canadians should not have to accept any of these choices,” they write.

To read the full report, click here.

To read a Canadian Press article about the report, click here.

To demand that your provincial government say NO to these unnecessary and costly changes to Canada’s patent system, use our ACTION ALERT here.