July 27, 2011
For Immediate Release

EU Drug Patent Proposals Would Add $3 Billion Annually To Canada's Prescription Drug Bill

A February 2011 study by Professor Aidan Hollis of the Department of Economics at the University of Calgary and Paul Grootendorst from the University of Toronto's Faculty of Pharmacy found that the EU proposals would lengthen the period of market exclusivity for brand-name drugs in Canada by an average of 3.5 years and add nearly $3-billion to Canada's prescription drug bill.

You can download the study, The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement: An Economic Impact Assessment of Proposed Pharmaceutical Intellectual Property Provisions, at the following link.


The generic pharmaceutical industry supports the reduction of trade barriers

As global players, Canada's generic pharmaceutical industry is a strong advocate for enhanced trade, and supports efforts by the Government of Canada to reduce barriers to trade. Fully 40% of the Canadian production of generic prescription drugs is for export to more than 115 countries. Raw materials and other inputs are sourced on the international market.

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 Ontario's health-care system. It will also increase trade barriers for Canadian generic pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Canada already has a robust IP regime for pharmaceuticals

Canada's current intellectual property regime for pharmaceuticals exceeds our international treaty obligations and provides greater protections to brand-name drug companies than those afforded any other industry in Canada.

According to a May 2011 report by Edward M. Iacobucci, the Osler Chair in Business Law at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law, Canada's current IP system for pharmaceuticals 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.

The EU proposals would make Canada's pharmaceutical IP regime more restrictive to generic product entries than either the EU or US regimes.

You can read the full report at the following link:


More IP protections do not equal more investments by brand-name drug companies

In Canada, market monopolies for brand-name drug companies have increased eight times since 1987, yet investments continue to decline, with R&D spending in Canada by brand-name drug companies at its lowest level since 1988.

The PMPRB reports that in 2010 brand-name drug companies spent only 6.9%of their Canadian revenues on research and development in Canada, marking the tenth consecutive year that brand-name drug companies have broken their promise to spend at least 10% of their domestic sales on R&D.

The PMPRB report also shows that in 2010 the brand-name industry spent only 1.4%of its Canadian sale revenues on basic research that could lead to the discovery of new medicines.

To read more about the PMPRB's findings on drug research in Canada, click on the following link:


What can I do?

Inform your Member of Parliament that you are concerned that Canadian's health-care money is at risk of being given away to brand-name drug companies based in Europe.

Send an email or letter to your MP. You can find your MP by entering your postal code at the following link:


Here is a sample email or letter:

Dear Member of Parliament:

I am concerned that proposals from the European Union as part of Canada-EU trade negotiations will drive up drug costs for Canadians by extending market monopolies for brand-name drugs.

Prescription drugs are one of the fasting rising costs in health care. Drugs are not covered by the Canada Health Act, which leaves Canadians, and particularly seniors and those on fixed incomes, vulnerable to cuts to our drug benefit programs when costs increase.

It does not make sense for Canada to take money from our health-care system and give it to drug companies based in Europe.

I strongly urge the Government of Canada to hold firm against the demands of brand-name drug companies and the European Union when it comes to extending drug monopolies.

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