Despite Canada spending more per capita on pharmaceutical drugs than any country in the world, the federal government is about to sign a trade deal with Europe that would increase the cost even more in exchange for "illusory" gains in pharmaceutical research and development.
This is the prognosis of a new policy brief out of Carleton University on the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The brief, written by Joel Lexchin of York University and Marc-André Gagnon at Carleton, explains the three areas where the EU, at the request Big Pharma, wants Canada to reform its patent regime. The authors go over the associated costs of those reforms as predicted in earlier reports and by the federal government, as well as why it is highly unlikely they would translate into more innovative research or associated job growth in Canada.
This claim, which is made constantly on Twitter by the Big Pharma lobby (using the absurd handle Protect Healthcare), "forgets that the global pharmaceutical sector was characterized in the last 15 years by both record earnings and an innovation crisis," says the brief. "Canadians already pay more on average for patented drugs than Europeans, and costs are increasing at a faster rate in Canada. It is likely that the CETA will include clauses that significantly contribute to further increasing the cost of drugs in Canada, without any significant benefits for Canadians."
Thank goodness two-thirds of Canadians would oppose a Canada-EU deal that extended drug patents. Surely the federal government and provinces couldn't possibly agree to these EU demands just to get a deal.
To read the new briefing note, CETA and Intellectual Property: The debate over pharmaceutical patents, click here.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.