April 2nd, 2019

NDP Slams Trudeau’s Drug Price Concessions to Trump Administration

OTTAWA – Today, NDP Health Critic Don Davies (Vancouver – Kingsway) criticized Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government for agreeing to concessions in the Canada – United States – Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) that will increase drug prices for Canadians by at least $169 million once it has fully taken effect, increasing every year thereafter.

“Today’s PBO report reveals the Liberals are deliberately making Canadians pay more for medicine to appease the Trump administration and help their friends in rich pharmaceutical companies,” said Davies. “Canadians already pay the third highest prices for patented medication in the world, and millions of Canadians already can’t afford to fill their prescriptions. This will make it so much worse.”

In a report released today, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) found the CUSMA will increase drug prices because it extends data protection for innovative biologic drugs from eight years to 10 years. This measure will delay competition from lower-cost generic alternatives, thereby raising prices by at least $169 million by 2029 – the year in which additional expenditure will first occur if ratification and implementation are completed by 2020.

“This concession will cost Canadians over a billion dollars in the first six years it takes effect,” said NDP International Trade Critic Tracey Ramsey (Essex). “Why do the Trudeau Liberals keep signing trade deals that raise the cost of prescription drugs for all Canadians?”
“In addition to these price hikes, the Trudeau Liberals have also abandoned long-overdue changes to Canada’s patented medicines regulations that would have saved Canadians billions on drug prices,” added Davies.

Two years ago, the Liberal government promised to overhaul the Patented Medicines Price Review Board to lower Canadian drug prices. Budget 2018 estimated that these reforms would lower drug prices for Canadians by $12.6 billion over 10 years. The plan was set to kick in on January 1, 2019, but was postponed indefinitely after the Trump administration put Canada on a “Priority Watch List” on patent protection.

“Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government prefers to let Canadians pay sky-high drug prices, even when millions can’t afford their medication already, rather than upset Donald Trump,” concluded Davies. “Canadians deserve a Prime Minister who will stand up for them when it matters most. They deserve a government that has the courage to make medication more affordable for everyone.”