Would Canada-EU Trade Proposals Add $2.8 Billion Price Tag To Drugs Bill?Published on 8 February 2011 @ 8:15 pm
Intellectual Property Watch
By Tavengwa Runyowa for Intellectual Property Watch
A study by the Canadian Generic Pharmaceuticals Association (CGPA) suggests that the European Union’s (EU) proposed changes to Canada’s patent system could add nearly $3 billion to Canada’s prescription drug bill.
The EU tabled the proposals during the ongoing negotiations for a comprehensive trade agreement. If implemented, they could extend the market exclusivity of brand name drugs in Canada by up to 3.5 years, thus delaying the entry of cheaper generics into the market.
According to the CGPA, the implementation of these proposals would make Canada’s protection regime for innovative drugs the most extensive of all countries in the world. The price increases would be born by government drug plans, which pay for about 45 percent of total prescription drug costs in Canada.
The CGPA also argues that by extending market exclusivity, the additional cost to Canadians would be disproportionately greater than the expected increases in pharmaceutical R&D investment.
Jim Keon, the president of the CGPA, pointed out that the EU exports about $5 billion worth of pharmaceuticals to Canada each year. This figure represents approximately 16.5 percent of the EU’s total exports to Canada.
Full press release here.
Meanwhile, the Globe and Mail newspaper ran a story saying that there is “new life” in an access to medicines bill, C-393, as a result of rare cooperation. The bill is aimed at encouraging exports of medicines to the world’s poorest countries.
[Tavengwa Runyowa was an intern at Intellectual Property Watch from January to March 2011.]