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I write concerning Ken Kavanagh’s letter to the editor “Trade agreements and prescription costs,” Dec. 3.

The Canadian Health Policy Institute has proven that the cost of medications does not drive total health-care costs. In fact, the health benefits of innovative medicines result in less demand and pressure on the health-care system. It has been estimated that every dollar invested in new medications generates a reduction in other types of health spending by more than seven times.

When critics of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) make predictions about the impact the deal will have on the cost of innovative medicines, they are engaging in an exercise that is speculative at best.

In reality, is it is next to impossible to accurately and reliably predict what products and prices will be in 2022, when the impact of any intellectual property changes under CETA would come into effect.

Further, we cannot ignore the value of innovation in Canada. The discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines prevent illness, ease pain, help people recover quickly and save lives. It is also important to our economy. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the research-based pharmaceutical industry supports 220 Canadian jobs, and generates over $17 million per year in economic activity.

We firmly believe in the benefits of innovation in Canada. History has proven that investing in new medications and vaccines improves our communities.

It creates jobs, generates economic activity and eases the burden on our health-care system — but most importantly it helps save lives.

Russell Williams

president, Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D)

Ottawa

Organizations: Canadian Health Policy Institute, Pharmaceutical Companies, RxD

Geographic location: Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ottawa

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