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NEW OPPORTUNITY TO FIX CANADA'S ACCESS TO MEDICINES REGIME: STATEMENT BY CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS

Thursday, February 16, 2012 - We welcome today the introduction of Bill C-398, a critical humanitarian bill to reform Canada's flawed Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR). After nearly eight years of waiting for Canada to deliver on its pledge to help get more affordable medicines to African and other developing countries, Parliament once again has an important opportunity to enact meaningful change on the global stage by saving lives and ending needless suffering worldwide.

In 2004, Parliament unanimously passed legislation creating CAMR, with the laudable goal of ensuring access to affordable essential medicines to the world's poor. Unfortunately, CAMR in its current form has failed: in nearly eight years, it has resulted in only one licence being issued to authorize the export of one order of one AIDS drug to one country (Rwanda). There is little prospect that it will get used again unless it is fixed.

Bill C-398 will streamline CAMR by cutting the current regime's unnecessary red tape that has made it so difficult to use. Central to the bill's proposed amendments is the introduction of a "one-licence solution," which would allow a generic manufacturer to obtain a single licence for a given pharmaceutical product; this would allow manufacturers more flexibility to supply eligible countries with medicines as their needs for medicines for HIV or other public health problems evolve over time.

The need for access to affordable medicines is as urgent as ever. In the developing world, 15 million people with HIV need treatment under international guidelines from the World Health Organization. Latest estimates are that only 6 million - or 40 percent of those in need - are receiving it. For children with HIV, access to treatment is even worse. Roughly half of all children born with HIV will die before reaching their second birthday if they don't have the medicines they need. The majority of these deaths are preventable and Canada can help prevent them - provided there is the political will to help make medicines available to those in need by fixing a broken CAMR to supply generic medicines at more affordable prices.

CAMR reform has the support of medical and legal experts, human rights organizations, physicians, faith leaders, health activists and international aid workers both across Canada and internationally. Dozens of prominent Canadians have also supported the need for CAMR reform, and 80 percent of the public supports fixing CAMR according to a national opinion poll.

Furthermore, in the last Parliament, a bill to fix CAMR with the "one-licence solution" passed through the House of Commons with a large majority, including support from MPs belonging to all parties, before it ran out of time in the Senate when the election was called. With the introduction of today's bill, those reforms are again before the House of Commons - and supporters of fixing CAMR now have the opportunity to finally get the job done.

Endorsed by:

AIDS Saint John

Bracelet of Hope

Canada Africa Partnership on AIDS (CAP/AIDS)

Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN)

Canadians for CAMR

Canadian Hemophilia Society

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Society for International Health (CSIH)

Canadian Treatment Action Council (CTAC)

Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR)

Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE)

COCQ-sida

Dignitas International

Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development (ICAD)

National Advocacy Committee of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign (NAC)

Oxfam Canada

People's Health Movement Canada

Plan International Canada

Positive Living BC

RESULTS Canada

The CTN - CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network

UNICEF Canada

United Church of Canada

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM)

Victoria AIDS Resource & Community Service Society (VARCS)


The call to fix CAMR has also been endorsed by:

2-Spirited People of the First Nations

Access AIDS Sudbury

Action Canada for Population and Development

Africafiles

African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario

Africans in Partnership Against AIDS

AIDS Action Now!

AIDS Bow Valley

AIDS Calgary Awareness Association

AIDS Coalition of Cape Breton

AIDS Comittee of Chatham-Kent

AIDS Committee of Kitchener , Cambridge , Waterloo and Area

AIDS Committee of London

AIDS Committee of Ottawa

AIDS Committee of Toronto

AIDS Committee of Windsor

AIDS New Brunswick

AIDS Program South Saskatchewan

AIDS Saskatoon

AIDS Thunder Bay

Alberta Community Council on HIV

Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention

ANKORS: Kootenay AIDS Service

Asian Community AIDS Services

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN)

Blood Ties Four Directions Centre

British Columbia Nurses' Union

BRAS Outaouais

Bruce House - Ottawa

Bureau Regional d'Action SIDA (BRAS)

Central Alberta Addictions Consortium

Canada Africa Community Health Alliance

Canadian Association of HIV Research

Canadian AIDS Society

Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS Care

Canadian Auto Workers Canada

Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace

Canadian Coalition on HIV/AIDS and Youth in Africa

Canadian Council for International Co-operation

Canadian Crossroads International

Canadian Federation for Sexual Health

Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions

Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW)

Canadian Feed The Children

Canadian Hunger Foundation

Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief (CPAR)

Canadian Public Health Association

Canadian Support of Rural African Initiatives

Canadian Union of Public Employees

CARE Canada

Carleton University AIDS Awareness Society

Center for International Studies and Cooperation

Centre for International Health

City of Prince Albert

Commission de la sante et des service sociaux des premieres Nations Quebec et Labrador

Conception Bay North AIDS Interest Group Inc.

CUSO

Defence for Children International Canada

Healing Our Spirit

Help Lesotho

Hiiye'yu Lelum Society

HIV North Society

HIV Network of Edmonton Society

HIV Society of Southeastern Alberta

Hummingbird Kids Society

International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO)

KAIROS - Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives

New Heights Community Health Centres

Maison Plein Coeur

Manitoba Nurses' Union

Mennonite Central Committee

National Congress of Black Women's Foundation

National Union of Public and General Employees

New Brunswick Nurses Union

Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses' Union

Northern AIDS Connection

North-South Institute

Nova Scotia Nurses' Union

Oasis Health Centre

Ontario Council for International Cooperation

Ontario First Nations HIV/AIDS Education Circle

Ontario HIV Treatment Network

Ontario Nurses' Association

Oxfam Québec

People to People Aid Organization ( Canada ) Inc.

Positively AFRICA

Positive Women's Network

Primate's World Relief and Development Fund

Prince Edward Island Nurses' Union

Public Service Alliance of Canada

Rights & Democracy

Sandy Hill Community Centre

SIDALYS

SHARP FOUNDATION

Saskatchewan Union of Nurses

Save the Children Canada

SIDACTION (Trois-Rivieres)

Stella

STOP TB Canada

Students Against Global AIDS

The Marquis Project

Tsewulhtun Health Center Cowichan Tribes

Transition House Association of New Foundland

Transition House Association of Nova Scotia

Union for Improved Services, Communication, and Education

Unité de recherche en santé des populations

United Nurses of Alberta

United Steelworkers

YWCA Canada

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About the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Since 1992, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network ( www.aidslaw.ca ) has been promoting the human rights of people living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, in Canada and internationally, through research, legal and policy analysis, education, and community mobilization.  The Legal Network is Canada 's leading advocacy organization working on the legal and human rights issues raised by HIV/AIDS.


Reproduced with permission - "Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network"

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
www.aidslaw.ca


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