Canadian Press report that federal research says that EU drug demands would cost up to $2B a year

Research finds that the EU proposal would likely add an average life of 2.66 years to a typical drug patent increasing Canadian drug costs by between $795 million and $1.95 billion annually.

Ottawa (16 Oct. 2012) - Canadian Press is reporting that they have a copy of confidential federal research on free-trade talks with Europe that confirms that agreeing to even part of the European Union's drug patent demands would cost Canadians up to $2 billion a year.

While civil society groups, including the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), have warned Canadians about increased healthcare costs as one likely outcome of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has repeatedly denied the concerns.

However, Canadian Press reports that officials at Industry Canada and Health Canada conducted research to examine the cost of the European demand to implement a patent-term restoration system. Indications are that, based on past history of approval patterns, the EU proposal would add an average life of 2.66 years to a typical drug patent. This would increase Canadian drug costs by between $795 million and $1.95 billion annually.

Given the wide range of possibilities the research provided other possible outcomes giving increased costs ranging between $15 million a year and $903 million.

The extra costs primarily arise from patients being forced to rely on brand-name drugs longer than they do now because the drug patents are extended. They would be unable to purchase the cheaper generic drugs until after the patent expires.

Most costs would be assumed by provincial drug plans, employee insurance plans and individual consumers.

This research echoes that previously conducted by Canada's generic drug manufacturers. Its research suggests the EU proposals would cost Canadians approximately $3 billion a year.

"These specific EU proposals are nothing more than an attempt at a cash grab on the backs of hard-working Canadians," Jim Keon, president of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, said recently.

"Extending market monopolies for brand-name drugs will not reduce trade barriers. It will, however, increase revenues for European-based drug companies at the expense of Canada’s health-care system. It will also increase trade barriers for Canadian generic pharmaceutical manufacturers."

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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


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