Advocacy Update

03-Policy Day Group Shot WPC 201319_croppedParkinson Society Canada was proud to welcome the world to Montreal in early October. The week began with the inaugural World Parkinson Congress Policy Forum. The gathering was focused and intimate, with approximately 50 delegates attending including government policy staff from Canada, France, Mexico and the United States. Also in attendance were leaders from international Parkinson societies, Parkinson ambassadors, and representatives from industry. The event was moderated by Jeffery Simpson, National Affairs Columnist for The Globe and Mail. These discussions helped elevate Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases as a worldwide health issue, by examining the social and economic impact of these conditions on a global scale.  A full report on the outcomes of the forum will be published shortly.

The Parkinson’s community also welcomed two public policy wins this fall. First, the issue of Genetic Fairness for Canadians took a big leap forward when it was featured in the Throne Speech as a new priority for the Government of Canada. Following on the heels of this victory, the government also finalized the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) which included reforms to intellectual property standards for medicines in Canada. Parkinson Society Canada believes these changes will provide an exciting opportunity to position this country as a world leader in advanced medical research. We believe these reforms will attract global investment in life science research in Canada, allow citizens to gain access to newer medicines, create a stronger healthcare system, and increase the quality of life of all Canadians.  For more information on these and other advocacy issues, please visit our advocacy centre of the national website.

2 Responses to “Advocacy Update”

  1. 1 Stan Marshall November 13, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Thanks for the update on advocacy. I do not agree with Parkinson’s Society Canada that CETA is a major win for those of us with Parkinson’s. The argument that the intellectual property reforms will stimulate additional research and development has been used many times in trade related reforms and rarely lives up to that promise when the evidence is examined closely.

    However, even if it does stimulate additional R & D, the main impact on the Parkinson’s community will be higher drug costs. First, if you are covered by a private benefit plan, the plan will have to pay more and there will be pressure to reduce costs internal to that plan. Second, if you are not covered by a private benefit plan, you will need to pick up the additional costs out-of-pocket. Third, the provision of drugs covered by federal or provincial plans will need to be addressed through reductions provision and/or an increase in taxes. Lastly, CETA will delay the entrance of generic drugs into the market resulting in further costs for the Parkinson’s community.

    Parkinson’s is largely dependent on pharmaceutical treatment options to address quality of life as well as the direct treatment of symptoms. CETA will increase the costs of achieving these goals and will place a financial burden on the Parkinson’s community.

    If you wish further details on CETA and drug costs see

  2. 2 Parkinson Society Canada November 15, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Parkinson Society Canada recognizes people living with Parkinson’s rely on pharmaceutical treatments as part of a comprehensive medical and non-medical approach to help manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. It is for this reason we help to ensure all Parkinson treatment options are made available to our community and that people have choice and a say in their care plan. However, what is currently available is far from ideal and that is why it is so important that industry continue to increase investment into new treatment options and bring new therapies to the Canadian market. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) helps to achieve these goals.

    Through CETA, two specific provisions were made to intellectual property rights to help even the playing field with our European counterparts, neither of which are expected to significantly drive up costs. The first provision is patent term restoration, which potentially allows companies to recover a portion of lost patent time resulting from lengthy regulatory review processes. The details governing this provision have yet to be clarified through regulations and it is currently unclear, what, if any portion of a patent can or will be restored due to this change, as the length of Canada’s current review times have been reduced considerably. The win here is that this provision puts Canada on an equal footing with the other G7 nations for patent-term restoration. The second provision, allows pharmaceutical companies the right of appeal in court when their intellectual property is challenged by another company. This change provides a fair judicial process to the pharmaceutical industry that has long been available to other sectors.

    While both CETA provisions are unlikely to add significantly to the costs of drugs in Canada, we believe, as do many other healthcare organizations, they signify to industry that their intellectual property will be treated fairly in this country, that Canada is a good place to do business, bring new drugs to market, and invest in research. This not only benefits the Parkinson’s community, but all Canadians living with health conditions.

    If you have any comments or questions regarding any of our advocacy initiatives, please feel free to contact

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All material related to Parkinson's disease contained in Parkinson Post is solely for the information of the reader. It should not be used for treatment purposes. Specific articles reflect the opinion of the writer and are not necessarily the opinion of PSC.

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