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NEWS: Canada-EU CETA would cost $2.8 billion a year in pharmaceutical drug costs

The Globe and Mail reports today that, “Provisions in a new trade deal being negotiated between Canada and the European Union could add about $2.8-billion a year in costs to Canadian drug plans if implemented, a new report warns. The estimate includes $1.3-billion more for public drug plans and $1.5-billion for private drug plans.”

“Drugs, both prescription and over the counter, accounted for $31-billion of the $192-billion in health spending in 2010. Drugs have been the fastest-growing component of health-care spending for a number of years and the provinces have responded with a number of measures including tightening up drug formularies and sharply reducing the price they would pay for generic drugs. …In the (Canada-EU CETA) negotiations, the Europeans have asked for three substantial changes in the laws and regulations that govern intellectual property protection related to brand-name drugs: extending the term of patent protection by up to five years if drugs are stuck in the regulatory approval process; lengthening the period of data exclusivity, which prevents generic companies from using data from clinical trials to create similar drugs, from eight years to 10 years or more; and strengthening notice of compliance regulations, which ensure that generic companies are respecting patents, by adding an appeals process.”

“Brand-name drugs are one of the leading exports from the EU to Canada. In 2009, Canada imported $5.3-billion in pharmaceutical products from the EU and exported $1.3-billion to European countries.”

Under the provisions of an EU trade deal, Canada’s annual drug-plan cost increases would be: Alberta: $211.5-million; British Columbia: $249.1-million; Manitoba: $79.8-million; New Brunswick: $52.2-million; Newfoundland: $46.4-million; Northwest Territories: $2.6-million; Nova Scotia: $95.0-million; Nunavut: $1.7-million; Ontario: $1.2-billion; Prince Edward Island: $10.4-million; Quebec: $772.6-million; Saskatchewan: $72.3-million; Yukon: $1.9-million.

“The 69-page report, entitled The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement: An Economic Impact Assessment of Proposed Pharmaceutical Intellectual Property Provisions, was commissioned by the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association. It will be released Monday in Ottawa.” The full report can be read at http://www.canadiangenerics.ca/en/news/feb_7_11.asp.

The Globe and Mail article is at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/eu-trade-deal-could-cost-canadian-drug-plans-billions/article1896747/.

Past campaign blogs on this issue can be read at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5985 and http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5084.

The Council of Canadians will be releasing an ACTION ALERT shortly which asks people to write their provincial minister of health and federal health minister Leona Aglukkaq demanding that they begin to speak out and reject at least this aspect of the Canada-EU CETA.