I am writing to express my strong opposition to any concessions in the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations on drug patents or any other measures that would delay access to affordable medicine for Canadians.
The Canadian-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will affect health care in two ways.
The first is through EU demands for Canada to change its drug patent system to give more intellectual property rights to large, EU and US-based brand name pharmaceutical companies. It is estimated that CETA’s proposed intellectual property chapter would increase the price of drugs in Canada by almost $3 billion. The EU is asking Canada to increase patent terms on drugs from 20 to 25 years. More protection and power would be given to brand name drugs in order to challenge the introduction of cheaper generic drugs in Canada.
This will also put another barrier in the way of a needed National Drug Plan, or Pharmacare, in Canada.
CETA would also affect health care through investment commitments that would give private health insurance companies and private clinics tools to challenge Canada’s public health care system. The result would be to increase the cost of health care and encourage privatization and expensive private insurance.
Access to essential medicine and access to generics are key elements in a sustainable public health care system. We need to take drug patents out of secret trade negotiations and develop a new patent regime that actually delivers benefits to Canadians.
The CETA negotiations may end very soon! Those who agree with this letter can send a similar message speedily to Prime Minister Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org