Despite lobbying efforts by Big Pharma, new report by Edward M. Iacobucci, the Osler Chair in Business Law at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, indicates that no changes are needed.
Ottawa (1 June 2011) - The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) sees a new report released by the Canadian Generics Association as supporting its opposition to the inclusion of new Intellectual Property (IP) provisions for pharmaceuticals in the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) (download a copy of the report here).
National Secretary-Treasurer Larry Brown said that "Canada's patent laws already give Big Pharma some pretty amazing protection,"
"But this doesn't seem to be enough for them and they're now trying to expand their patent rights under this international trade deal. If they succeed, brand name drug prices will skyrocket even higher and that will cost our public health care system and Canadians billions of dollars more."
Report responds to Canadian Chamber of Commerce
The research by Edward M. Iacobucci, the Osler Chair in Business Law at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law, was in response to a report produced by the Canadian Intellectual Property Council of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce *(CIPC). The CIPC report called for extending pharmaceutical IP rights in Canada as part of the CETA negotiations.
"The CIPC report fails to appreciate that, in its totality, pharmaceutical IP in Canada is already stronger than that in any other industrial sector in Canada, and is in many ways stronger than pharmaceutical IP in the European Union and United States,” writes Iacobucci.
In particular, he points out that Canadian brand name drug companies benefit from:
- an automatic injunction against generic entry up to 24 months long;
- two rounds of patent infringement litigation on the same set of patents;
- no statutory incentive for generic pharmaceutical companies to challenge patents;
- regulatory data protection that lasts several years longer than the international average; and
- the ability to obtain patents on multiple aspects of a drug without any mechanism for generic companies to oppose a patent except through litigation.
Iacobucci goes on to state that aside from "its inadequate comparisons, the CIPC's recommendations are based on fundamentally flawed premises that are unexplained and unsupported in the CIPC Report:
- Failure to Acknowledge Extra Costs to Canadian Consumers: The report ignores the substantial and predictable costs that will be visited on consumers and governments if Canadian pharmaceutical IP rights are further expanded.
- Unjustified Link Between IP, Employment and R&D: There is no economic reason or empirical evidence that suggests that extending IP protection in Canada will meaningfully increase jobs or research and development (R&D) spending in Canada. To the contrary, pharmaceutical R&D appears to be moving toward countries having weaker IP, such as India and China.”
Larry Brown sees the need for our "governments to stand up for the right of Canadians - and for their own right to make democratic decisions. They need to tell the drug companies that they can't go to Europe to get through the back door what would never be agreed to in an open debate in Canada."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE