Canada-EU trade deal will increase drug costs for Canadians

Brand-name pharmaceuticals could lead to skyrocketing health care bills

A new trade deal between Canada and the EU could add about $2.8-billion in annual costs to Canadian drug plans, according to a report commissioned by the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association. The EU has asked for significant changes to patent laws for generic drugs, which regulate the amount of time before a generic drug company can reproduce a patented brand name drug. Patented drugs are generally more expensive than their generic counterparts. The changes include extending patent protection by up to 5 years, lengthening data exclusivity, and strengthening notice of compliance regulations. Aiden Hollis, professor of economics at the University of Calgary and the co-author of the report, said “the reasonable inference is that these changes are designed to allow innovating pharmaceutical firms to charge monopoly prices for a longer period.” Brand name drugs manufactured in the EU are a leading export to Canada, with $5.3-billion in pharmaceutical products imported by Canada from the EU in 2009.

The Globe and Mail