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In two recently released papers by the Fraser Institute and the Macdonald Laurier Institute, we examine the issue of Canada’s intellectual property commitments for pharmaceutical products in free trade agreements.

In “Strong Medicine: Can Free Trade Agreements Cure Canada’s Pharmaceutical Ills?” published by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, we argue that, as a condition of accepting IP reforms in our trade negotiations with the European Union and in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canada must ensure that strengthened IP protection yields increased investment in pharmaceutical research and development. In these trade negotiations Canada has a dual interest: an offensive one to provide strong intellectual property protection to promote investment in the research-based and biotechnology sectors, and a defensive one to hold the line on drug prices and accessibility. The challenge is how to achieve a successful conclusion to the negotiations while balancing important domestic public health needs, namely access to affordable medicines, and economic aims, such as promoting innovation and competition in the pharmaceutical sector.

Canada’s Trade Agreements and the Pharmaceutical Industry: The Road to Asia Runs Through Brussels” examines the economic benefits to Canada of both the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership and concludes that the benefits of these trade agreements far exceed the potential additional costs that might result from bringing Canada’s IP protection regime in line with those in other developed nations.