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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 9987

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Lexchin J.
Intellectual propety rights and the Canadian pharmaceutical marketplace: Where do we go from here?
International Journal of Health Services 2005; 35:(2):237 - 256,2,13;journal,9,146;linkingpublicationresults,1:300313,1


Patent protection for prescription drugs has a long and contentious history in Canada. Bills C-22 and C-91, passed as part of Canada’s commitment to various trade deals, first weakened and then abolished compulsory licensing. In order to decide on a future course of action that Canada should take on intellectual property rights (IPRs), it is useful to review downstream effects that resulted from C-22 and C-91. This article examines changes to employment, Canada’s balance of trade in pharmaceuticals, investment in research and development, and drug expenditures. The author then reviews the arguments advanced by the pharmaceutical industry in favor of stronger protection for IPRs, the recent complaints made against Canada at the World Trade Organization regarding pharmaceutical IPRs, and the continuing argument about the “evergreening” of patents. Also discussed are the second-draft text agreement of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, which will, if implemented, have significant repercussions for pharmaceutical IPRs in Canada, and some ways in which patents distort the marketplace for drugs. The article concludes with some alternative recommendations on the future of IPRs.


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As an advertising man, I can assure you that advertising which does not work does not continue to run. If experience did not show beyond doubt that the great majority of doctors are splendidly responsive to current [prescription drug] advertising, new techniques would be devised in short order. And if, indeed, candor, accuracy, scientific completeness, and a permanent ban on cartoons came to be essential for the successful promotion of [prescription] drugs, advertising would have no choice but to comply.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963