Tuesday, August 9, 2011

CETA trade deal threatens Medicare

Canadian Health Care Coalition

There are serious concerns about the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Europe, on behalf of the big pharmaceutical companies, is pushing for Canada to lengthen the period of its monopoly drug patents and delay the availability of lower-priced generic drugs. The proposed changes would add almost $3 billion annually to Canada’s drug bill.

Canada’s high prescription drug prices are already a barrier to medically necessary medicines for millions of Canadians, and CETA will only make the situation worse.

A second threat to Canada’s public health care system in the CETA negotiations is the European demand that Canada weaken NAFTA protections that shield Canada’s health care system from international trade deals. We fought hard to get these protections and want them strengthened, not eroded.

If the Harper government is going to pursue a deal, it must negotiate a carve-out for Canada’s health care system that says “nothing in the CETA shall be construed to apply to measures adopted or maintained by a party in relation to the health sector or public health insurance”.

Canadians want the public health care system protected and improved, not traded away.


  • Proposed EU-Canada trade agreement raises health concerns in both Canada and European Union, June 26, 2011
  • The CETA and Health Care Reservations: A briefing note for the Canadian Health Coalition, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
  • Canadian Health Coalition letter to the Federal Minister of International Trade.
  • Read the briefing note on the potential impact on costs of brand-name drugs from CETA.
  • Read the new studyCETA: An Economic Impact Assessment of Proposed Pharmaceutical Intellectual Property Provisions.
  • Read the Globe and Mail article: “EU trade deal could cost Canadian drug plans billions”.


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