Canada's lagging intellectual property (IP) protections for pharmaceutical innovators are a key issue to be settled in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations with the European Union. They may also play a role in upcoming negotiations for the multi-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Two new essays on the cost and benefits of stronger protection suggest Canadians would be far better off, in both economic and health terms, with an IP protection regime for pharmaceutical innovators that was more closely aligned with international standards.
New medicines are a central component of modern medical care, treating illness effectively, providing more comfortable treatment regimes, extending life and reducing disability, and sometimes offering new treatment options where none previously existed. However, these benefits come with the potential for harm, which is why governments around the world regulate access to new medicines.
Question: Should patients in Rome or Detroit have faster access to new prescription drugs than someone living in Victoria or Windsor? If your answer to that is no, then here is another query: Why do government agencies tasked to approve or deny new drugs in Europe and the United States (and which presumably have the same high standards as Canada) act quicker when compared to Health Canada?