Toronto, December 10, 2019 – The following is a statement by Jim Keon, President of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) on the signing of a revised Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) today by the three countries:
“Earlier today the Trump Administration and House Democrats announced they have reached an agreement on CUSMA, including several improvements to the pharmaceutical intellectual property aspects of the agreement.
The CGPA expects that such improvements are included in the revised CUSMA signed today by Canada, the United States and Mexico. Such improvements would represent an important win for the Canadian health-care system and patients’ access to affordable prescription medicines in Canada and throughout North America.
Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer has estimated that the concessions made by Canada in the CUSMA signed in 2018 would have cost Canadians as much as $169 million more per year for prescription medicines in the first year alone after they came into effect. The CGPA expects that this potential impact will be eliminated with the changes.
The removal of the requirement for 10 years of market exclusivity for biologic drugs, which could have delayed the future introduction of new biosimilar biologic medicines in Canada, is of particular importance to Canadian patients, public drug plans and employers that sponsor drug benefit plans for their employees.
The 2018 CUSMA concessions also could have delayed the future introduction of new biosimilar biologic medicines to Canada. Biologic drugs account for more than 30 per cent of Canada’s prescription drug costs, but are used to fill less than two per cent of all Canadian prescriptions. Biosimilars are an important solution to this cost challenge. They are approved by Health Canada, and provide safe, effective and therapeutically-equivalent treatments to their reference biologic drugs.
The generic and biosimilar medicines industries are strong supporters of trade and the elimination of barriers to trade. Moving forward trade negotiations must prioritize measures to provide access to affordable medicines for patients and to foster a competitive business environment for the generic and biosimilar medicines industries.
The CGPA will be undertaking a careful review of the revised CUSMA to ensure that the anticipated changes are fully reflected in the final text of the revised treaty.”
About the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association
The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) represents Canada’s generic pharmaceutical industry. The industry plays an important role in controlling health-care costs in Canada. Generic drugs are dispensed to fill nearly 73 percent of all prescriptions but account for account for less than 20 percent of the $30-billion Canadians spend annually on prescription medicines.
For more information, please contact:
Vice President, Corporate Affairs
Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA)
Tel: (416) 223-2333
Mobile: (647) 274-3379