TAKE DRUG PATENT ISSUES OFF THE CETA TABLE: NDP
CETA patent provisions could add billions to healthcare
VANCOUVER—New Democrat Trade Critic Don Davies is calling on the Conservative government to remove patent reform from the negotiations of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union.
“Changing the patent regime for pharmaceuticals is a complicated issue with deep consequences for Canadians, provincial healthcare programs, and Canadian employers,” said Davies (Vancouver-Kingsway). “Studies project the patent extensions proposed by the EU could raise Canadians’ drug costs by $2.8 billion a year.”
Drug costs are the second leading healthcare costs for provinces and are rising every year. A recent report reveals that many low income Canadians cannot afford the cost of their medicines and one in four are simply not filling their prescriptions.
“The CETA forum, or any other trade agreement, is not the appropriate place for this debate to take place. Patent legislation and prescription medicine costs are stand-alone issues that need to be fully studied and debated in public, not behind closed doors in trade policy talks, and not traded off as a bargaining chip in these negotiations.
“The changes brought in by CETA will alter parts of the Canadian economy—and not just health care,” said Davies “We need to more transparency and more oversight into how this deal will affect our economy and our workers.”