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Sat Oct 31, 2015, 09:42 AM

How The TPP Jeopardizes Canadian Health

"Picture this: a patient returns to the office for a follow-up visit with their physician. When asked how the prescribed treatment is working out, they answer: "I don't know, I couldn't afford to fill the prescription."

It's a story to which a growing number of Canadians, and nearly every Canadian doctor, can relate.

Canadians value our Medicare system, a system that allows us to see doctors without paying up-front costs. Unfortunately, according to a recent Angus Reid survey, 23 per cent of Canadians are unable to take their drugs as prescribed and this leads to worse health, missed work, unnecessary hospitalizations, and even death.

According to leaked drafts of the secretly negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the deal could increase the price of prescription drugs putting life saving drugs out of reach of even more Canadians.

The proposed intellectual property rules will excessively boost patent and data protections for brand name drug companies while preventing price-lowering generic competition. Based on this information, it appears the TPP will undermine the ability of governments to bulk purchase drugs, thus preventing governments from negotiating better drug prices from large pharmaceutical companies.

Through the TPP, drug companies intend to protect their absurd profit margins. Lipitor, a popular cholesterol-lowering drug, costs $800 per year for a Canadian but only $15 per year in New Zealand $800 per year for a Canadian but only $15 per year in New Zealnd where bulk purchases and price negotiations have dramatically lowered the price.

Why did the Harper government agree to force cash-strapped Canadians to fork out for brand name drugs? Perhaps it is because the drug companies, through organizations like the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufactures of America (PhRMA), have spent over $110 million lobbying the U.S. Congress to support the TPP."

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/sarah-giles/the-trouble-with-tpp_b_8309052.html

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