Proposals would wipe out majority of savings from BC Government's drug
TORONTO, Feb. 7 /CNW/ - Changes to Canada's drug patent system proposed
by the European Union (EU) would add $249-million annually to British
Columbia's prescription drug bill, according to a new study by two of
Canada's top academics on pharmaceutical policy.
The study, The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement: An
Economic Impact Assessment of Proposed Pharmaceutical Intellectual
Property Provisions, was authored 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. The study was commissioned and
released today by the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association
Canada and the EU are currently in negotiations for a comprehensive
economic and trade agreement (CETA), which International Trade Minister
Peter Van Loan hopes to conclude before the end of 2011. As part of
these negotiations, the EU has tabled proposals that would considerably
lengthen the period of market exclusivity for brand-name drugs in
Canada and, according to the authors of the study released today, would
provide "the most extensive structural protection for innovative drugs
of any country in the world."
The study's key finding is that Canadian payers, such as the federal
government, provincial governments, businesses and patients "would face
substantially higher drug costs as exclusivity is extended on
top-selling prescription drugs, with the annual increase in costs
likely to be approximately $2.8-billion per year." Of that $2.8-billion
in additional annual costs, approximately $249-million would be borne
by the British Columbia government, employers that sponsor drug plans
for their employees and BC patients.
On July 9, 2010, the Government of British Columbia announced reforms to
reduce costs for the government's drug benefit plan as well as
employer-sponsored drug plans and BC residents that pay for their
prescriptions out-of-pocket. In the government's new release, it
estimated savings of up to $380-million annually.
"Today's study shows that the majority of the expected savings for
public and private drug plans through the BC government's reforms would
be wiped out if the EU's proposals are implemented," said Jim Keon,
President of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA).
"Those savings were supposed to help preserve and enhance BC's
health-care system, not increase profits for brand-name drug
Importantly, the study reveals that the EU's proposed changes would not
lead to a substantial increase in investment by brand-name drug
companies in Canada. "The purpose of exclusivity rights granted to
innovators is to create an incentive for research and development
investments into new drugs. However, the amount of additional
investment in pharmaceutical innovation that would result from the EU's
proposed pharmaceutical IP provisions would be a small fraction of the
additional costs to Canadians."
Keon pointed out that pharmaceuticals are one of the EU's top exports to
Canada, comprising 15.6 percent of total exports with a value of more
than $5 billion annually.
"The generic pharmaceutical industry supports the Government of Canada's
efforts to increase trade with other jurisdictions," said Keon. "The
pharmaceutical intellectual property proposals tabled by the EU,
however, will not eliminate trade barriers, as pharmaceutical products
from the EU already have unfettered access to the Canadian market.
These proposals will simply increase profits for brand-name drug
companies at the expense of Canada's health-care system."
To view the full report, please visit www.canadiangenerics.ca
About the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association
The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) represents
Canada's generic pharmaceutical industry. The industry plays an
important role in controlling health-care costs in Canada. Generic
drugs are dispensed to fill 57 per cent of all prescriptions but
account for only 25 per cent of the $23-billion Canadians spend
annually on prescription medicines.
SOURCE Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association
For further information:
Vice President, Corporate Affairs
Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA)
Tel: (416) 223-2333
Mobile: (647) 274-3379