Interventions in Committee
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John Britton
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John Britton
2014-10-28 12:52
I think the debate for us has been, and continues.... I'm presenting my overview and my opinions, but I don't speak for the United Kingdom; I speak for me. There have been many lines in it. One is that addiction is wrong, and as you suggest, that argument is often heard over coffee. There's the argument that doctors didn't think of this. These were not developed by a pharmaceutical company as a treatment for disease. These are a social phenomenon. So as public health physicians, we didn't think of this; therefore, it can't really be very good.
Then there's the opposition to the tobacco industry, which I entirely understand, but it is a secondary, rather than a primary, target. There's a lot of worry about gateway use and uptake in smoking. So it's been those things, and those arguments have been going on and continue now. But with the publication of the RCP report in 2007, I think those arguments came to the surface in Britain a little earlier than perhaps they did in other countries.
It's one of the truths of talking about harm reduction that until about two years ago it wasn't possible to have a conversation about harm reduction without arguing whether Swedish-Snus snuff was a good thing or a bad thing. Now it's whether electronic cigarettes are a good thing or a bad thing. I've said what I think on that matter.
Steven Sternthal
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Steven Sternthal
2014-06-03 8:53
Good morning.
Thank you, Mr. Chair and members of the committee, for the opportunity to contribute to your deliberations on Bill C-442.
I am pleased to be here today to address the work under way in the Public Health Agency of Canada to reduce Lyme disease across the country.
I'll begin by addressing the agency's role and how it applies to Lyme disease.
The agency aims to promote better overall health of Canadians by preventing and controlling infectious diseases. We undertake primary public health functions, such as health promotion, surveillance, and risk assessment. These inform evidence-based approaches to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases.
As part of its public health leadership role, the agency coordinates the national surveillance on Lyme disease as one of the most rapidly emerging infectious diseases in North America. I know that was part of your deliberations late last week.
The spread of Lyme disease is driven, in part, by climate change, as the tick vector spreads northwards from endemic areas of the United States. Moving into Canada, it is impacting our most densely populated regions. Based on the lessons learned in the United States, we anticipate the disease will affect over 10,000 Canadians per year by the 2020s.
To date, we have seen cases increase from 128, in 2009, when Lyme disease became a nationally notifiable disease, to an estimate of over 500, in 2013. That's a fourfold increase in just over five years.
However, this national snapshot only reflects a portion of all cases in Canada. This is because some people do not seek treatment for milder symptoms. Others do seek medical help, but may be misdiagnosed because their doctors are not always aware of the range of symptoms, or even that Lyme disease is in Canada. Agency risk models estimate the true number of infections to be at least three times higher than what has been reported today.
To support physicians in diagnosing Lyme disease, laboratory diagnostic testing is available across Canada in various public health laboratories. Like the United States, we use a two-tier test that must be requisitioned by a physician: the ELISA, to screen; and the western blot, to confirm Lyme disease.
The following are just a few facts about the testing in Canada.
Last year, almost 40,000 ELISA tests were administered by provincial and national laboratories. Of this total, approximately 3,000 tested positive or inconclusive, and were sent on to have essentially the second part of the screening and testing, the western blot, for confirmation of Lyme disease, by either our National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, or by public health laboratories in Ontario and British Columbia.
Following a thorough review of this surveillance information, available domestic and international research, stakeholder views, and existing public health messaging on this important topic, the agency has put in place an action plan to prevent and control Lyme disease in Canada. The action plan identifies three pillars for concrete action: engagement, education, and awareness; surveillance, prevention, and control; and research and diagnosis.
The first pillar includes a comprehensive public awareness plan that focuses on educating health care professionals and the public about Lyme disease.
Raising awareness among health professionals is one of our main goals: informing them that Lyme disease is here, educating them on symptoms, and encouraging them to properly diagnose and report cases.
This year, we have already reached an estimated 200,000 health professionals with awareness posters published in medical journals beginning in March. We have also presented to clinicians at a variety of venues across Canada in recent months.
We are also using every means available to get the message out to the general public. From social media, to Google AdWords, to partnering with organizations like The Weather Network, we are telling Canadians that Lyme disease is here, how to recognize it, and how to protect themselves from it. These public messages will continue throughout the summer period, which really is the Lyme disease season in Canada.
The agency has also worked with provincial and territorial public health authorities, as part of the Pan-Canadian Public Health Network, to develop a coordinated, vector-borne disease communications strategy, and public awareness tools targeting Lyme disease.
We hope that by the end of this year's tick season Lyme disease will be a household term.
I would now like to address the second pillar, which focuses on innovative ways to conduct surveillance and encourage preventive behaviour.
Efforts made in Lyme disease surveillance are starting to show some results. This year the majority of provinces are providing detailed case information, which will help identify new areas where Lyme disease is endemic and assist provinces in tailoring their preventive strategies.
The information will also provide a clear picture of the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, information that is key for clinicians to properly diagnose it.
The final pillar focuses on increasing lab capacity, testing new diagnostic methods and carrying out research to generate new insights into effective diagnosis and treatment.
Under this pillar the agency is increasing testing capacity and quality by using state-of-the-art laboratory equipment. We recognize the challenges with current testing, particularly around detecting early Lyme disease, as the human body takes some time to develop antibodies to the bacteria.
The agency is committed to improving diagnostic testing. New methods are being evaluated and any that outperform current methods, the two-step method, will of course be adopted.
In the meantime we continue to recommend doctors diagnose patients on the basis of a full, wholesome, clinical assessment.
We recognize that laboratory technologies have evolved and will continue to do so in the future. The agency's national microbiology laboratory, in collaboration with the Canadian Public Health Laboratory Network and other stakeholders, will be updating our laboratory diagnostic guidelines in the near future.
However in doing so the agency faces a challenge. We can update the guidelines to reflect the current available evidence, but new evidence is needed to inform new diagnostic and new treatment methods. Therefore the agency is committed to continuing to work with medical professionals, patient advocacy groups such as the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and my colleagues on the video conference today to identify and address research gaps.
In closing, I would like to restate that the goal of the agency is to mitigate the impact of Lyme disease on Canadians. Through our collective efforts, Canadians will become more aware of the disease, how to recognize its symptoms, and the benefits from early treatment.
Together, we can reduce the severity of Lyme disease in Canada.
Thank you for your attention.
Philippe Lucas
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Philippe Lucas
2014-05-13 10:32
An evidence-based public health approach to regulating cannabis—which we're seeing now in Washington state and Colorado—allows adults to use cannabis for recreational purposes, regulates it by age, and regulates the amount that's allowed to be used. This would probably be the best step forward that Canada could take in order to keep it out of the hands of youth, and in order to ensure that those who are using cannabis have a safe supply and know what they are using through labelling practices.
If we moved towards regulated access to cannabis, I think we would likely see, as research suggests, a slight increase in the use of cannabis by the general population, maybe a 2% to 4% increase. We base that on looking at other jurisdictions that have taken similar paths, but we would see a subsequent decrease in the use of alcohol and alcohol-related problems, including drinking and driving, domestic violence, and property crime. We'd also likely see a reduction in the use of pharmaceutical substances, whether used for recreational purposes or medical purposes, and we'd see a reduction in the use of other substances that are currently illicit as well.
From a public health perspective, a net benefit perspective, and a cost perspective—because we're all Canadian taxpayers paying into our health care system—we'd probably see, as the evidence suggests, a net benefit through regulated access, not to mention the cost savings of not having to criminalize thousands of Canadians each year and bring them through the current criminal justice system. That is not a very effective approach to reducing the harms associated with cannabis. Giving people criminal records, or sending them to jail, can hardly be called a public health measure.
Zach Walsh
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Zach Walsh
2014-05-13 10:34
If I could add to that, I think that it would also provide a better tone to our dialogue with young people if we accurately communicated risks and harms. I am also concerned that our current approach of prohibition hasn't prevented people from using cannabis at all, but it has caused them to use cannabis that can't be regulated for quality with regard to pesticides or moulds and mildews. I think if we were to regulate, people would know what they were getting, and they would know what they were getting in terms of THC content as well. So generally I think that amongst those who use cannabis now, that would certainly have a public health benefit.
Peter Watts
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Peter Watts
2014-05-05 16:38
Good afternoon. I'm Peter Watts with Pulse Canada, the national association representing the growers, traders, and processors of pulses, that is, peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas in Canada.
Thank you for inviting Pulse Canada to speak to the committee today. I would be happy to answer any questions you have after my presentation.
It's not an overstatement to say that the ingredient, food processing, and food retailing sectors in Canada, in North America, and in fact globally are undergoing a revolution of remarkable proportions. For many years the global food manufacturing sector relied heavily on tried and true products that often contained high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. These foods have been central to the epidemic of such diet- and lifestyle-related illnesses as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Today nearly 10% of Canadians have diabetes or pre-diabetes, and that is true for many countries around the world. In addition to health issues, the environmental “food print” of the food sector has come under scrutiny. Together, health and environmental issues have pushed governments, the health industry, food manufacturers, NGOs, and consumers to look carefully at the foods that are offered to consumers on grocery store shelves and at food production systems.
While governments have responded with important legislation aimed at tackling some of these issues, such as the ban on trans fats, today's consumers want to know exactly what's in their food and how it's made. They read nutrition labels like never before. Even cornstarch that is modified raises eyebrows these days. When they see something they don't like, consumers now have the power, through social media, food bloggers, or online petitions, to force companies to pay attention.
Today's consumers are opting for foods that are healthier, such as those with higher levels of protein and fibre, or products with the absence of something perceived as negative, such as gluten- or GMO-free foods. In addition to all of this, consumers want foods that are deemed sustainable, fair trade, and ethically produced. All of these consumer demands have forced the hands of the food sector to introduce healthier and more sustainable foods, either in the form of new products or reformulated versions of the existing foods.
The challenges for the food sector are many, and eventually these challenges make their way back along the food value chain to the production and primary processing levels. This is where Canada faces some of the biggest challenges and also opportunities. The agrifood sector in Canada has to respond to the wants and needs of its customers, including food companies and consumers, if it wants to stay competitive.
In the pulse industry over the last eight years we have been focused on addressing these opportunities and needs through knowledge creation and knowledge dissemination. Under knowledge creation, we are focused on consumer drivers of nutrition, health, and sustainability, as well as the needs of the food manufacturing sector to better understand processing and utilization techniques and technologies. This type of work has been supported by such initiatives as AAFC's agri-innovation and science cluster programs.
In the area of health, with support from AAFC funding, Canada's pulse industry has been investing in human clinical trials that have shown the benefits of pulse consumption in relation to cholesterol lowering, satiety, and blood sugar control. Pending further research, the industry will move to secure health claims in these areas in Canada as well as in the U.S. and Europe. Official health claims are highly sought after by food companies, so this work is creating value and important market opportunities for pulses.
In the area of processing and utilization, the pulse industry just completed a four-year research program at the Canadian International Grains Institute in Winnipeg, funded collaboratively with AAFC, where researchers looked at how to mill pulses into flours that will be functional in food applications. The addition of pulse flours will help companies boost the nutritional profile of foods and reduce their environmental footprint, paving the way for product labelling claims.
Through another initiative at Pulse Canada, we are leading a consortium of stakeholders in the Canadian agricultural sector that is developing a sustainability calculator tool to allow farmers to measure and quantify their environmental footprint in relation to carbon emissions, energy use, soil quality, and soil-use efficiency.
Once new knowledge has been created, to have value it has to be disseminated to such end users as food companies, retailers, and consumers. For these initiatives, the pulse industry has relied on matching support provided by AAFC under the agri-marketing program and other programs such as agri-flex.
Outreach to the food industry through conferences, symposia, face-to-face meetings, technical journals, and print, web, and social media have allowed the pulse industry to communicate and promote the findings established through our research and development initiatives.
How do we know we're on the right track? We have some good evidence. Today, major food companies, from General Mills and Kraft to Campbell's, President's Choice, PepsiCo, and others, have dedicated teams focused on developing foods with pulse ingredients. If you ask these companies if they've heard of Pulse Canada, my guess is that they will invariably tell you yes.
In summary, Canada's pulse industry has benefited enormously over the years from programs such as AIP, the science clusters, agri-flex, and AMP, all of which have provided support to allow the industry to develop and disseminate knowledge, creating value for the sector, particularly in higher-risk pathfinding areas where producers in the primary processing industry are not comfortable investing, or at least not on their own.
This support is coupled with a world-class research infrastructure in Canada, where scientists are looking at new ways to process Canadian agricultural products that meet the wants and needs of food companies and consumers. With these programs and this infrastructure, Canada has the resources and expertise to be the world's preferred supplier of agrifood products.
Support for R and D through AAFC, including programs such as the AIP, the science clusters, and the agricultural marketing program provide much-needed support for research, innovation, and marketing for Canada's agrifood sector. Governments in Canada should ensure these programs continue to be well funded, as they allow the Canadian agriculture sector to innovate, to adapt new techniques and technologies, and ultimately to be competitive in an increasingly complex and demanding global food marketplace.
Two years ago, Galen Weston called pulses the “food of the future”. At Pulse Canada, we firmly believe this is true, and with the Canadian government as our partner, Canada's pulse industry can move confidently into the future to create value and profitability for our sector.
Thank you.
Ruth Salmon
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Ruth Salmon
2014-02-24 15:40
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
For those of you who don't know, we're a national industry association headquartered here in Ottawa, representing the interests of Canadian seafood farming operators, feed companies, and suppliers, as well as provincial finfish and shellfish aquaculture associations.
I will be talking about CETA today—obviously, that's why you invited me here—and the benefits to our industry. But I wanted to start by talking about aquaculture worldwide and the potential that exists for aquaculture, because it's really pertinent to the discussion. Aquaculture is the fastest growing food industry in world, with an annual growth rate of 6% to 7% per year. That's a very large annual growth rate, so you might be asking what's fuelling that increased demand.
The FAO has a very compelling message about the global demand for food. They tell us that collectively we face a huge challenge to attain food security for a population that will exceed 9 billion by 2050, which is a 34% increase over today’s population. They also project that we will need an additional 50 million tonnes of seafood to meet that demand—and we know that the wild fishery can meet less than half of that. The FAO director general, Dr. Árni Mathiesen, spoke to our annual meeting in November. He said that because Canada is an advanced and environmentally conscious country, we have “...a chance to lead the way: to disseminate the knowledge, secure investments, and contribute significantly to achieving our common goal of global food security.”
Other influential international organizations are starting to see and talk about the benefit of aquaculture. A new World Bank report estimates that in 2030, 62% of all the seafood we eat will be farm-raised to meet the growing demand.
In December our association welcomed the recommendations contained in the newly released Conference Board of Canada study of how to improve the economic viability of Canada’s seafood industries. This study confirmed the vital role of farmed seafood in Canada's future food supply and the unique opportunity it provides in terms of new jobs and growth. In addition to recommendations from this standing committee in the closed containment report, we were very pleased to see that the Conference Board report called for the creation of a federal aquaculture act to help achieve increased growth, employment, investment income, and export opportunities.
The Conference Board study also highlighted the health and nutritional importance of increasing the share of seafood in Canadians’ diets. It's well recognized that seafood contributes to human health but Canadians are not even eating the minimum amount of seafood recommended by Health Canada. By ensuring greater awareness and access to healthy, nutritious seafood products, our industry can contribute to the potential reduction in health costs, thus an additional benefit to the Canadian economy.
Looking at aquaculture today, we're valued at just over $2 billion. We employ over 14,000 full-time workers, and we farm in every province and the Yukon. The bulk of our production comes from the two coasts, but we do farm in every province. The value of our industry is a third of the value of Canada’s fisheries production. Approximately 80% of farmed seafood is exported.
However, many of you in this committee know that Canada has the potential to do so much more. Canadian aquaculture grew rapidly from the early eighties to the end of the nineties. But since that time, even considering small pockets of growth—and we've seen pockets of growth in Newfoundland—overall industry growth has basically been stagnant. Despite our enormous competitive advantages, Canada’s share of the world’s farmed fish market has fallen by 40% during the past decade. We now account for only 0.2% of global aquaculture production. This stagnation has taken place while other producers in New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, and Chile have raced ahead. As a result, our rural communities are forgoing greater prosperity, our food processors are losing out on export opportunities, and our economy is missing out on potential growth. But not only is this a missed opportunity for Canada at a time when there is such a huge demand for food globally, it's really a missed opportunity for the world.
The natural question, then, is why we have flatlined.
The principal challenge confronting our sector is the complicated set of regulations that restrict growth and limit investment. Rapid development of the sector in the eighties and nineties resulted in a myriad of federal, provincial, and local regulations. Many of these were implemented before commercial-scale aquaculture was even a significant activity. A patchwork approach resulted, and many of the policies and regulations are reactive and inefficient.
As many of you know, we're regulated by the Fisheries Act, which is a wildlife management act that was never intended for an innovative food production sector. It doesn't even mention the word “aquaculture”. It is a piece of legislation that dates back to Confederation, when commercial aquaculture didn't even exist.
But I think it's important, when we look at what has kept the industry stalled, to stress the important point that our industry is not looking for less regulation—we are a food-producing industry, and regulation is very important—but is looking for more efficient and appropriate regulation. In response to this need, our sector launched a comprehensive national aquaculture development strategy in 2012 to advocate for legislative, regulatory, and policy reform. The next slide illustrates some of the growth that is projected in our industry, if we can get the kind of regulatory, legislative, and policy reforms we are hoping for. It shows that over the next 5, 10, and 15 years there is significant investment waiting to come to Canada.
In the first five years, for example, the slide indicates—we're currently at 160,000 tonnes—that we could move to 200,000 tonnes, without even an increased footprint, by just approving amendments and allowing for more efficiencies. From there, after 10 years and 15 years, with new sites there would be a significant increase in growth and jobs for Canada.
This projected growth not only impacts economic activity for rural and coastal communities, but would also allow us to capitalize on trade agreements such as CETA.
Now that we've talked about the potential of aquaculture and about how Canada is falling behind, let's take a closer look at CETA. For us, the EU is the largest seafood import market in the world, and it's a growing market. And it is not just for farmed seafood: Canada's fish and seafood exports to the EU are currently $400 million.
These exports have attracted an average tariff anywhere between 11% and 25%, making access very difficult. In fact, I was talking to one of my members this morning, who farms sturgeon caviar, and he said that the tariff for him has been 20%, while the tariff on European caviar coming into Canada has been 3%. With CETA, we've been told that 96% of tariff lines will become duty-free immediately upon signing the agreement, and others will be duty-free within seven years. This is obviously very encouraging news, and we hope it is actually the case.
What is the current situation and the near-term opportunity? As you can imagine, with limited potential to increase farmed seafood production, any new markets require diverting products from existing markets. When you add the high tariff rates to this supply limitation, you can see why the EU has not been a priority export market for us. When CETA is implemented, however, those companies that are doing business in the EU now will look to expand. Companies that have expressed interest in expanding are in farmed salmon—particularly value-added products—sablefish, oysters, mussels, and sturgeon caviar. However, if the industry is allowed to grow, the EU will become a natural new market for high-end value-added farmed seafood products. This will also result in new jobs here in Canada, as the value-added products will require additional labour.
Our association supports and applauds the federal government for its work on CETA; however, our industry requires increased growth and competitiveness to really take significant advantage of this new market opportunity. Aquaculture in Canada offers tremendous opportunities. Working together we can renew a vibrant aquaculture industry in Canada and unlock the full range of economic, environmental, and public health benefits that flow from a competitive, sustainable, growing farmed seafood sector.
In our mind, that will require regulatory reform, which we are working on with DFO, a national aquaculture act, and a vision for growth.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am happy to answer any questions.
John Calvert
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John Calvert
2014-02-04 15:18
Good afternoon.
Let me begin by thanking the committee for giving me the opportunity to express my views today on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. This initiative has important public policy and public health implications, which I believe do merit extensive examination. Let me also note that I am here as an individual and not as a representative of Simon Fraser University, where I teach.
I'd like to start by making clear that I am not opposed to trade. We all benefit from trade. My focus is on whether the terms of this proposed agreement constitute a reasonable way to ensure that Canadians—and other parties to the TPP—achieve the benefits of trade in a fair, balanced, and equitable manner.
This committee hearing is also challenging because the full draft text of the agreement is not available. While secrecy is normal in trade negotiations, there is a powerful democratic argument that the public does have a right to know what is being negotiated on its behalf, given the major public policy and health implications of the TPP and given that once ratified, it is almost impossible to reverse. The limited information accessible to Canadians contrasts with the privileged access given to 600 of the world’s largest corporations that have been included as U.S. advisers in the negotiating process.
I believe the Canadian government should engage in a much wider process of consultation to enable Canadians to make an informed choice about whether they support the TPP. Canada should publish the full draft text of the agreement and provide adequate time for full legislative scrutiny and public debate before it considers ratification. It should follow the lead of the EU, which suspended negotiations with the U.S. on a new trade agreement until the completion of extensive public consultations on enhanced investor rights proposals.
Trade agreements are very complex, both in terms of the obligations in individual agreements and in terms of their interaction with other agreements. This makes it very difficult to know, in advance, how particular provisions will be interpreted by dispute panels. Complexity and interlinkage also open the door to costly trade challenges, the prospect of which can chill government initiatives. The increasing number of agreements—we have nearly 3,000 bilateral investment agreements globally and numerous other free trade agreements—also facilitates venue shopping by those who wish to challenge government policies. Dispute adjudication is handled by a small number of trade law experts who may have little background in health, increasing the risk that their decisions may ignore important population health considerations.
The proposed TPP, like other trade agreements, places restrictions on the policy tools available to governments. These restrictions are meant to minimize any policy on regulatory barriers to trade or investment flows, regardless of the actual intent of these policies. Public regulations to protect health or the environment or to achieve socially beneficial purposes can be challenged if they violate trade treaties.
However, there is a long history of public-health-based regulations that have contributed significantly to improving population health. In light of the well-documented benefits of public regulatory capacity, it is essential that nothing in the proposed TPP erode or restrict the ability of future governments to protect public health, or require governments to adopt measures that subordinate public health considerations to other policy objectives. Governments must continue to have the policy tools needed to protect and advance population health, including the policy flexibility to address future challenges.
The scope of the TPP is very broad, as you know, with 29 chapters covering matters such as intellectual property, public procurement, state enterprises, market access, investment, and so on. In the time available, I can comment on only a limited number of issues and will focus primarily on health implications. A more thorough analysis of the impacts of the TPP on population health is clearly needed. I hope the committee will do this.
Let me turn to some of the major health and public policy concerns raised by the proposed agreement. As the committee knows, intellectual property rights—IPRs as they're called—cover patents, copyright and trademarks. The U.S. has advocated stronger IPRs than exist in TRIPS and stronger than those Canada currently provides or may provide under CETA.
The proposals would extend the duration of pharmaceutical patents, that is TRIPS-plus; lock in data exclusivity, further restricting the ability of generics to enter the market; and include for the first time medical procedures, something the U.S. did not get in its recent agreement with Korea. They would also provide additional protection for biologics. If implemented, the changes will increase the time-to-market for lower cost generic drugs and increase the range of life-saving measures that may be patented, making it more difficult to provide affordable medicines and implement universal public drug coverage.
Canada’s past experience with patent extensions has not been favourable. In the mid-1980s under compulsory licensing, prescription drug expenditures represented 6.3% of total health spending. In 2012 they were 13.6% or $27.7 billion. Drugs have been the fastest-growing component of health expenditures over the past 25 years.
A recent analysis of patent extensions in the proposed CETA estimated that this would add between $850 million and $1.65 billion annually to our drug bill. High drug costs adversely affect many Canadians. Many patients do not fill prescriptions due to cost, or use less than prescribed amounts to make them stretch to fit their budgets, risking their health.
The multinational drug corporations promised to increase research and development in return for increased patent protection from Bills C-22 and C-91. The research and development target was an extremely modest 10% of revenues. While reached between 1993 and 2002, it has now fallen to 6% of sales despite the huge increase in industry revenues.
Much of this R and D is not basic scientific research, but rather applied, that is, clinical trials, marketing, and sales research. Almost half of the R and D is funded by federal and provincial subsidies and tax credits. Our ratio of R and D to sales is a fraction of that of other OECD countries.
John Calvert
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John Calvert
2014-02-04 15:25
I'll be quick as I can. Thank you.
Canada’s balance of payments in pharmaceuticals has also deteriorated. In 1987 under compulsory licensing, we had a trade deficit of $334 million. In 2012 our trade deficit had ballooned to $7.6 billion. Once our Patent Act changes were locked in by NAFTA and TRIPS, the multinational drug corporations had little reason and no obligation to locate production, employment, and research and development in Canada.
In light of the extensive evidence of this policy failure, it's not clear how further extensions of patent protection for pharmaceuticals will benefit Canada.
I'm going to jump down the page a little in light of your comments.
What Canada should demand is a clear commitment by all TPP parties to the Doha “Declaration on the TRIPS agreement and public health”, including “the right of WTO Members to make full use of the safeguard provisions of the TRIPS Agreement in order to protect public health and enhance access to medicines for poor countries”.
We should also oppose any proposals that would undermine existing protections for health in TRIPS.
The TPP proposes additional protection for trademarks, an area that's already witnessed numerous health-related trade disputes.
According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills almost six million people annually. Over 168 countries have signed the 2005 WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, but not the U.S. This treaty advocates numerous regulatory measures to restrict tobacco marketing and promotion, but the multinational tobacco industry has opposed these measures, launching numerous trade challenges to strike down public health measures designed to reduce tobacco consumption.
Canada should be particularly concerned about this. In 1994 we drafted new legislation that required manufacturers to sell cigarettes in plain packaging, based on evidence from the public health community that industry advertising linked logos and images on cigarette packages with attractive lifestyles and thus encouraged smoking. Despite the health rationale, Canada abandoned plain packaging, fearing it would lose a NAFTA trade challenge from U.S. tobacco interests. These fears were based in part on the testimony of Carla Hills, who was the U.S. negotiator representing R J. Reynolds.
We don't know how many Canadians might have stopped smoking had this legislation passed.
Other labelling requirements are also at risk. We see that Philip Morris has initiated arbitration to stop Uruguay from placing graphic images of smoking victims on its cigarette packages. There are several others that I cite in my paper.
Canada must also ensure in terms of technical barriers to trade that the provisions in the TPP be no more extensive than those in the current WTO TBT. This means that we need to have the right to an explicit guarantee for the right of governments to require health warning labels on all such products.
Another area is alcohol, which has numerous health and social problems. The WHO estimates that 2.5 million people die each year from its harmful impacts. The liberalization of alcohol markets and the elimination of restrictions on alcohol promotion have serious health consequences. In 2010, the UN’s World Health Assembly adopted the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. However, TPP commitments to regulatory harmonization and easier market access may pose significant barriers to achieving this goal.
Food safety is another—
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