Conference board says drug costs should stay stable under trade deal with EU

OTTAWA – The Conference Board of Canada says provincial and territorial drug costs are unlikely to rise significantly in the coming years under an economic and trade agreement between Canada and the European Union.

The report says it won’t be until 2023 before the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement might start to affect drug costs.

The Conference Board also says the agreement could make Canada a more attractive place for research and development because it extends the length of time during which a patent is valid.

But the Conference Board says various factors contribute to drug research spending and the length of patent protection is just one factor.

The Conference Board notes jurisdictions with stronger patent protection such as the European Union and Switzerland don’t have higher or much higher drug prices than Canada, and haven’t seen drug prices increase at a faster rate over the last several years.

Signed in principle in October 2013, the agreement seeks to establish freer trade between Canada and the EU and includes a section on intellectual property provisions on drugs.