Global Squeeze on Pharma Prices Just Won’t Ease Up: Canadians Iffy on Patents Extentions

As free trade talks between Canada and the European Union near a conclusion, the pharmaceutical industry is waging an intense publicity campaign to convince Canadians that its efforts – researching medicines and providing jobs – are worth the extended patent protections that are being sought in the agreement.

The industry trade group this morning released three new reports containing “the first new data set detailing the economic and social impact of Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical industry in five years,” according to Rx&D, which adds that drugmakers contributed at least $3 billion to the Canadian economy and supports some 46,000 jobs (see here).

Since January 2011, drugmakers invested nearly $1.5 billion into research infrastructure in Canada and last year, product donations to patients through compassionate use and special access programs increased by 47 percent, to $133 million. Meanwhile, more than 3,000 clinical trials are underway in Canada, which represents an investment of roughly $750 million.

The push – which involved specially commissioned reports written by KPMG, RiskAnalytica and SECOR – comes shortly after the Canadian Press reported details of an industry study that found the EU proposal would add an average life of 2.66 years to a typical drug patent, and increase Canadian drug costs by between $795 million and $1.95 billion annually.

Big global pharmaceutical companies – think Pfizer (PFE), Novartis (NVS), Merck (MRK), Sanofi (SNY), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) -- are struggling to produce revenue growth, as patents on many blockbuster drugs expire, clearing the way for cheaper generic versions, and as the Pharma concerns’ labs produce fewer big-selling drugs.

PFE Revenue TTM Chart

PFE Revenue TTM data by YCharts

The previously undisclosed report was undertaken by Health Canada and Industry Canada, partly in response to comments from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade that previously maintained complaints the free trade deal would increase health care costs was a ‘myth,’ according to the paper.

To read the remainder of this article, go to Pharmalot.

Ed Silverman is the editor of Pharmalot and a contributor to YCharts, which includes the just-released YCharts Pro Platinum for professional investors.



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