Canada is currently negotiating a comprehensive economic trade agreement with the European Union to increase the volume of trade and business occurring between Canada and Europe. During these negotiations, the Europeans have asked Canada to update its intellectual property laws bringing them in line with those in Europe. This includes:

a) extending the term of patent protection for drugs that get mired down in the regulatory approval process;

b) increasing the term of data exclusivity from 8 to 10 years;

c) changing the notice of compliance regulations to permit innovators the right of appeal even if the generic manufacture obtains a notice of compliance.

These proposals are support by some Canadians who feel that Canada has lagged behind the rest of the world in updating patent laws resulting in a substantial lose of investment in the Canadian research and development sector. This, however, has been challenged by the organization that represents Canadian generic manufacturers who have commissioned a study that suggests updating Canada’s patent laws will increase the cost of brand-name drugs in Canada. Supporters of the European trade agreement respond that the cost of brand drugs in Canada are very reasonable and until very recently Canada had some of the highest generic prices in the world.

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