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  Changing medicines regime will save lives
  03 มีนาคม 2554 ดาวน์โหลดเอกสารฉบับเต็มที่นี่
 
 


Date: 3 March 2011
Source: EMBASSY MAGAZINE
Link: http://embassymag.ca/page/printpage/CAMR-03-02-2011 

With Bill C-393 moving forward in the House of Commons, fixing Canada`s Access to Medicines Regime is now more than a distant hope. When they vote on this critical bill on March 9, our elected representatives will have the opportunity to make meaningful change that could help save lives around the world.

Every day, people are suffering and dying from treatable illness. They die not because life-saving medicines do not exist. They die because these medicines aren`t available to them or their countries at prices they can afford, because of limited budgets and overwhelming needs. Appallingly, half the children born with HIV will die before their second birthday.

These deaths, while devastating, are not news to anyone who`s paying attention. But they should be unacceptable to people of conscience.

Canada has a long tradition of humanitarianism, and we promised the world that, through CAMR, we would help to stem the tide of needless death by facilitating access to medicines for low- and middle-income countries. “The key idea: to harness the power of competition in the marketplace to drive down the prices of medicines available to developing countries.

Yet Canada has not delivered on Parliament`s unanimous pledge, made almost seven years ago when it created CAMR. The regime, as it currently exists-and as was predicted by many civil society groups-has proven a failure. To date, only one licence has been issued to authorize the export of one order of one AIDS drug to one country, Rwanda.

Those who have attempted to use CAMR have either abandoned the effort (as did Medecins Sans Frontieres after 18 months of effort) or have made it clear that the experience will prevent them from trying again (as generic producer Apotex confirmed after meeting its commitment to MSF to produce an affordable and much needed combination AIDS drug).

Enter private member`s Bill C-393, meant to strengthen CAMR by removing the unnecessary barriers embedded in the current regime-barriers that have the effect of rendering the system practically unworkable for both developing countries and generic manufacturers.”

Bill C-393`s core reform is a "one-licence solution" that would cut the red tape and streamline the CAMR process so that it can function as a sustainable, longer-term source of supply for low-price generic medicines for developing countries.

The fate of Bill C-393 now lies in the hands of MPs. They have the power to restore the "one-licence solution" and to resist the ill-advised "sunset clause" proposal that would automatically kill the reforms to CAMR in a mere four years.

In its years-long journey, this "little bill that could" has overcome hurdle after hurdle, garnering support across the country.

The House of Commons has received a petition signed by more than 32,000 Canadians. More than 12,000 postcards were sent to the Industry Committee during hearings into the bill. Many prominent Canadians, including the former prime minister whose government initiated CAMR, and dozens of community organizations from all sectors have called on parliamentarians to support Bill C-393.

Grandmothers have mobilized in their communities across the country through a network of more than 240 groups acting in support of their African counterparts who are bearing the brunt of AIDS.
Leading health professionals, researchers and leaders from many faith traditions have joined their voices to the call for reform. A national poll showed that 80 per cent of Canadians support fixing CAMR to make it work.

As we wait for political will and leadership from our parliamentarians to keep their promise and make affordable generics available to the developing world, those who cannot afford these lifesaving drugs continue to die. Members of Parliament, the next move is yours, as is the responsibility to make good on your earlier pledge on behalf of Canada. Canadians are watching.

Patricia Evans is a member of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign`s national advocacy committee.

Keywords: Medicines / Regime / Lives / MSF