Minister Freeland, don’t block better health care in the new NAFTA. Stand with U.S. progressives!

Dear Minister Freeland,

Recently, you stated that Canada would not reopen the new NAFTA despite calls from U.S. democrats to eliminate longer patent protections for biologic drugs.

Biologic drugs are used in vaccines and as treatments for cancer, arthritis, and inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Big Pharma already profits from an existing eight-year market protection for these drugs. The new NAFTA threatens to extend these protections by an additional two years. That means drug companies can keep prices high and prevent more cost-effective biosimilar versions of the drugs from reaching markets for up to ten years.

Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer has estimated that in its first year of application, these longer market protections would increase drug spending by $168 million dollars. These additional costs would make it harder to implement a national pharmacare program.

Big Pharma companies would increase profits, while people who face life-threatening and serious chronic conditions would have to pay more for longer.

Minister Freeland, longer market terms for biologics will hurt Canadians. I call on you to not stand in the way of U.S. progressives who are trying to remove these provisions from the new NAFTA deal. Canada can – and should – accept these changes.


People and the Planet Before Profits

As Canadians, we often pride ourselves for standing up to big U.S. corporate interests.

But in the new NAFTA deal, the roles have switched. Instead, Canada is standing in the way of changes that will stop big U.S. Pharma corporations from making more profit off of people suffering from cancer and chronic conditions.

As you may know, U.S. Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in the last midterm elections. When Democrats looked at the details of the new NAFTA, they narrowed in on a provision that extends market protections for Big Pharma.

The new NAFTA deal gives drug companies market extensions for an important life-saving drug class known as biologics. Biologic drugs are used to treat cancer as well as debilitating conditions such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis, among others.

Under the new NAFTA deal, Big Pharma companies would be allowed to charge higher prices for biologics for 10 additional years before new, more cost-effective biosimilar forms of the drugs could be introduced. Currently, Canada only allows eight years of market protections for biologics.

Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates this change would cost Canada $168 million dollars in the first year these rules apply. It also means that any national pharmacare program would have to absorb these rising costs.

The new NAFTA puts Big Pharma corporate profits ahead of people who need these medications.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has refused to consider the new changes saying, “We’ve done our deal.”

Tell Minister Freeland not to be a barrier to our health! Canada should be open to making the new NAFTA deal better for people, not for corporations.

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