The following is the body of an email received from Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner, The Council of Canadians.
To sign the petition: click https://canadians.org and scroll to “Stop Blocking Democrats, Canada”. Or you can type canadians.org in your browser, select campaigns then scroll to the article.
If you’re like me, you’re proud when Canada stands up to big U.S. corporate interests. So it may shock you to learn that right now Canada is standing up for big U.S. corporate interests.
The new NAFTA deal, still not ratified, contains troubling market extensions for a critical life-saving drug class known as biologics. These are used to treat cancer as well as debilitating chronic conditions such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis, among others.
The market extensions will allow big U.S. pharmaceutical companies to charge astronomical prices for biologics for 10 additional years before new, cheaper generic forms of the drugs could be introduced.
Essentially, the new NAFTA locks in even greater profits for Big Pharma off of people suffering from cancer and debilitating chronic conditions.
The good news is, right now U.S. Democrats are trying to remove this provision from the deal, using their control of the U.S. House of Representatives to do it.
The bad news is, rather than standing up for people and against big U.S. corporate profits, Canada is outright refusing to re-open the deal. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is simply saying, “we’ve done our deal.”
Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates these patent extensions would cost Canada $168 million dollars in the first year of application. It also means that any national pharmacare program Canada wants to implement would have to absorb these rising costs.
Simply put, the new NAFTA stands to put Big Pharma corporate profits ahead of people who need these life-saving and life-changing medications.
And there’s still time to stop this, but we have to act now! Let’s make this right. Please add your voice in calling on Minister Freeland to work with U.S. progressives.
Canada must be open to making the new NAFTA deal better for people, not corporate profits.
Thank you for taking action!
Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner, the Council of Canadians