TORONTO, June 7, 2011 /CNW/ - Changes to Canada's drug patent system
proposed by the European Union (EU) would wipe out the savings from
Ontario government's drug reforms, Jim Keon, President of the Canadian
Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA), said today on the one-year
anniversary of Ontario's drug system changes.
"The savings achieved for both public and private drug plans through the
Ontario government's 2010 reforms would be wiped out if the EU's
proposals are implemented," said Jim Keon, President of the Canadian
Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA). "Canada's generic
pharmaceutical manufacturers worked cooperatively with the Ontario
government to implement last year's reforms. Those savings were
supposed to help preserve and enhance Ontario's health-care system, not
increase profits for brand-name drug companies based in Europe."
Canada and the EU are currently negotiating a comprehensive economic and
trade agreement (CETA), which the federal government hopes to conclude
by 2012. 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 add approximately $1.2-billion annually
to Ontario's prescription drug bill. Of that $1.2-billion,
approximately $550-million would be borne by the Ontario government
with the remainder, $672-million, coming out of the pockets of patients
and employers that sponsor drug plans for their employees.
"At the one-year anniversary of the Ontario government's drug reforms,
we are calling on the Government of Ontario and all of the
organizations that supported these reforms to step up to the plate and
take action to protect those savings," said Keon. "They need to make
their voices heard now to ensure brand-name drug companies don't take
Ontario's health-care money back to their head offices in Europe."
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.
"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 percent of the Canadian production
of generic prescription drugs is exported to more than 115 countries,"
said Keon. "Extending market monopolies for brand-name drugs as the EU
is requesting would not reduce trade barriers. It would, however,
increase revenues for European-based drug companies at the expense of
Canada's health-care system and increase trade barriers for Canadian
generic pharmaceutical manufacturers."
A May 30, 2011 report by Edward M. Iacobucci, the Osler Chair in
Business Law at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law, found that
Canada's intellectual property 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 (EU)
and United States (US).
In his report, Iacobucci notes that, in Canada, brand-name
pharmaceutical companies already benefit from protections that go
beyond international standards, specifically:
An automatic injunction against generic competition of up to 24 months
Two rounds of patent infringement litigation on the same set of patents
No statutory incentive for generic pharmaceutical companies to challenge
Regulatory data protection that lasts several years longer than the
The ability to obtain patents on multiple aspects of a drug without any
mechanism for generic companies to oppose a patent except through
In addition, despite several increases to Canadian intellectual property
protections, investments in R&D as a percentage of sales have for nine
years been below the 10 percent threshold the brand-name drug industry
committed to in 1987.
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 58 per cent of all prescriptions but
account for only 26 per cent of the $22-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