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Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, comments on news today that Harper will acquiesce to European demands in the Canada-EU trade negotiations that will increase the cost of drugs in Canada by as much as $1 billion

“The premiers have to reject this absolute sell-out by the Harper government. Trade Minister Ed Fast might as well carry a suitcase full of money to hand personally to Europe’s big pharma lobby when he meets the European Trade Commissioner next week to announce Canada’s capitulation on this issue. Our health care systems cannot afford to take a billion-dollar hit from higher drug costs. There is no payoff to Canadians from making any compromises to the EU on drugs. We call on Canadians to pressure their provincial governments to reject any Canada-EU trade deal that will make drugs more expensive for Canadians.”

A poll conducted by Ipsos Reid, and released in September by the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Health Coalition, shows that otherwise high support for a Canada-European Union free trade deal collapses on the issue of pharmaceutical drug costs, with 69 per cent of Canadians opposing a deal that would lengthen patent protections for brand name drugs.