TORONTO, April 27, 2012 /CNW/ - The following is a statement by Jim Keon, President of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA), regarding the current negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU):
"Canada's generic pharmaceutical industry is the country's primary source of pharmaceutical manufacturing and exports, and employs more than 12,000 Canadians in highly skilled research, development and manufacturing jobs.
With the global demand for our products increasing at a rate of 10 percent each year, the generic pharmaceutical industry appreciates efforts by the Government of Canada to eliminate barriers to trade for Canadian manufacturers. Canadian-made generic pharmaceutical products are currently exported to 115 countries around the globe, and the industry is actively seeking new market opportunities.
The generic pharmaceutical industry supports International Trade Minister Ed Fast and the Government of Canada in their efforts to conclude the CETA negotiations with the EU, and their public commitment to sign an agreement that is only in the best interests of Canadians.
Canada is currently home to one of the strongest intellectual property regimes for pharmaceuticals in the world. A number of brand-name drug companies are headquartered in the EU and brand-name pharmaceuticals remain a top export from the EU to Canada. As such, it is perhaps not surprising that the EU has tabled three proposals in the negotiations aimed at increasing market monopolies for brand-name drugs.
These specific EU proposals are clearly not in Canada's best interests. Provincial governments and private insurers do not support these proposals as they are concerned about the 3.5 year delay in the availability of cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals that would result, at an estimated cost of $2.8 billion annually to Canadians.
These specific EU proposals would also be harmful to Canada's life science and manufacturing sectors. Further delays in the ability of Canadian generic companies to develop and manufacture products for the United States and other global markets would negatively impact the industry's ability to attract new R&D and manufacturing mandates to Canada. Reduced investment would lead to job losses for generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, and a significant reduction in business for Canadian Contract Research Organizations (CROs).
Claims that further increasing Canada's high intellectual property standards for pharmaceuticals would lead to more domestic R&D ignore the realities of global R&D investments by the brand-name pharmaceutical industry, which are typically done near corporate headquarters in the EU or in emerging markets that are not renowned for their intellectual property protection.
No proven link exists between increased IP and increased Canadian R&D investments by brand-name pharmaceutical companies. In Canada, market monopolies for brand-name drug companies have increased eight times since 1987, yet investments continue to decline, with R&D spending in Canada by brand-name drug companies at its lowest level since 1988.
These specific EU proposals are nothing more than an attempt at a cash grab on the backs of hard-working Canadians.
A successful conclusion to the CETA negotiations can and must be achieved without the extension of market monopolies for brand-name drug companies. CGPA remains committed to working with the Government of Canada in its efforts to conclude a CETA with the European Union that is in the best interests of Canadians."
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