Trade agreements and prescription costs

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Typical to government and big business rhetoric on free trade agreements, much of what we hear from the self-serving Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement’s (CETA) proponents is misleading, double-speak and outright b.s.!

CETA is wrong on many fronts but I shall focus on one — the financial impact on Canadian’s drug costs.

On the Foreign Affairs and International Trade website, the Harper government claims it is a myth that CETA would increase drug costs, yet several studies confirm otherwise.

One authoritative study headed by Paul Grootendorst from the faculty of pharmacy at University of Toronto asserts that the extension of drug patents will “increase the cost of public and private drug plans in Canada by at least $2.8 billion.”

The study also says that the bulk of this cost would fall on provincial governments which currently cover 45 per cent of total drug spending in Canada.

If this is myth, then why have the provinces written Harper to ask for compensation in the event of these anticipated increases?

I say to Harper, Penashue, Dunderdale and Hutchings, come clean and say it ain’t so!

Not surprisingly, four former federal trade ministers, now sitting at corporate board tables instead of the cabinet table, endorse CETA and dismiss critics as ideological malcontents.

Their assertion that federal and provincial governments will have tools to “manage’ drug costs is patently (excuse the pun) false!

A NAFTA-like CETA dispute settlement clause will quash any attempt to subvert this agreement.

These same corporate power-

brokers conveniently separate people from the economy and claim that CETA is good for the latter.

 CETA will take money out of the pockets of seniors and the sick and put it in the coffers of large pharmaceutical companies.

Regrettably, CETA will also kill any chance of a national pharmacare program.


Ken Kavanagh

chair – St. John’s Chapter

Council of Canadians

Organizations: Foreign Affairs, International Trade, University of Toronto Chapter Council

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • a business man
    December 05, 2012 - 00:24

    I am okay with higher prescription costs for Canadians if it means I get the economic benefits of CETA.