Last week Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente said the Harper government’s “consumer friendly” agenda was at odds with the pharma provisions in the new European trade agreement.
As critics had been warning, the new agreement will effectively extend drug patents by about two years. The deal allows pharmaceutical companies to apply for extensions to take into consideration the gap in time between their initial patent and the federal approval required to market new drugs here.
Everyone is in agreement that this will raise the cost of prescription drugs in Canada even though Canadians already pay among the highest drug costs on the planet.
The decision is also at odds with the work of the provincial governments to bring down the cost of their public drug programs by placing a cap on the cost of generics, limiting them in Ontario’s case to 25 per cent of the cost of the brand name alternative.