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USMCA still allows Canadians access to generic pharmaceuticals

FILE - In this June 15, 2018, file photo, pharmaceuticals are seen in North Andover, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

The coming ratification of the USMCA will not impact Canadians' access to pharmaceuticals, one expert says

The USMCA previously included a provision which would have delayed access to cheaper generic alternatives

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The removal of a provision related to pharmaceutical drugs in the new North American trade deal is a big win for Canadians, one expert says.

Chrystia Freeland, our deputy prime minister, put pen to paper on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement in Mexico City on Tuesday.

The USMCA had previously included a provision which would have given 10 years of data protection to biologic drugs, meaning people in our country would have delayed access to cheaper generic alternatives.

But now that provision has been removed and the deal is on its way to ratification, McGill professor Richard Gold says Canadians have reason to celebrate.

“In fact, we go back to the situation we were at a year ago. Nothing changes in Canada, we have our continued system of patent protection and data protection, and we don’t have to pay more money to drug companies.”

Gold believes in the short term that could mean savings of tens of millions of dollars on an annual basis for provincial governments.

“There will be a cost saving to the provincial systems, but also individuals who are on drugs at home will save money as well,” he says.