Thank you very much. I'm not a member of this committee but I'm quite interested in what's taking place today.
I'm sure our witnesses would agree that whatever we do, it would have to be fair to everyone, fair to those who spend billions of dollars on innovation in order to introduce a product to the market, and fair to those who, by law, have a right at some point in time to come in and reproduce and put on the market a product.
I suppose, Mr. Chair, I have two questions and they're quite simple, both of them.
Mr. Keon was making a reference to the exclusivity of a product here on the Canadian market as compared to that of the United States, and I'm not sure whether or not he has taken into consideration the period for patent approval in the United States, something like up to six months, while here in Canada it would take up to about two years.
So if we were to take those additional two years and add them to what happened between the United States and Canada, we would find that in Canada in fact a company has an exclusivity of approximately 10.8 to 11 years while in the United States they have something like 12 years. In the United Kingdom they have 15 years. In France they have 19 years. At least, those are the figures that I am aware of. I suppose if we were to take those figures, wouldn't the witnesses, Mr. Chair, agree that under those circumstances the generic pharmaceutical companies already have a chance to get on the market faster here in Canada than in the United States or than in the United Kingdom or France?
I wanted to ask the witnesses, how do their generic products compare when you introduce a product on the market? Do you introduce it faster here or do you introduce it faster in the U.S. or in France? How do you compare in terms of new products that you put on the market?