OTTAWA – A new report says the Canada-European Union trade deal could cost Canadians hundreds of millions more for prescription drugs once fully phased in.
The paper by two York University researchers says costs could rise by between $850 million and $1.65 billion annually, depending on how broad the range of drugs affected by changes to intellectual-property protection.
The costing assumes changes contained in the deal would delay production of cheaper generic versions of brand-name drugs by a little more than a year, on average.
The Harper government has acknowledged drug costs could rise starting in 2023 as a result of the agreement, and has pledged to compensate provinces.
But the researchers note there’s only one taxpayer, and Canadians without drug coverage at work will be paying out-of-pocket with no promise of compensation.
The report also casts doubt on whether brand-name pharmaceutical firms will increase research and development spending in Canada as a result of the deal.
© The Canadian Press, 2013