The recent announcement of an agreement in principle on the free trade deal between Canada and the European Union is no doubt a positive development for the Canadian economy and ultimately Canadian incomes and standards of living. Part of the agreement getting some misinformed attention however pertains to improvements in Canadian protections of pharmaceutical innovator intellectual property.
There is no doubt that completion of negotiations for the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), announced in October, is a major economic milestone for Canada. Gains of up to $12 billion a year are impressive and duty-free access for 98 per cent of Canadian goods to a market of 500 million people is a big deal.
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.