[Ip-health] media coverage of campaign to reform Canada's law on compulsory licensing of pharmaceuticals for export

Richard Elliott relliott at aidslaw.ca
Tue Nov 2 09:25:32 PDT 2010


CANADIAN HIV/AIDS LEGAL NETWORK

UPDATE - November 2, 2010

For those interested, below is a compilation of some of the media coverage over just the last 2 weeks of the campaign to reform Canada's Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR), the 2004 law that enacted a WTO decision in 2003 on the use of compulsory licensing for export of pharmaceutical products to eligible countries lacking sufficient capacity to manufacture their own lower-cost, generic medicines.

Also below is the text of the news release issued yesterday by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network in response to the gutting of Bill C-393, aimed at reforming CAMR with a "one-licence solution", by a slim majority of the Parliamentary committee studying the bill, thanks to intensive lobbying by the brand-name pharmaceutical industry.  The Bill has now been reported back to the House of Commons, as amended by the committee.

The Legal Network and other advocates for Bill C-393 are examining options for the next steps in the struggle to ensure meaningful reform that would make CAMR a workable mechanism for supplying more affordable medicines to countries in need, as one part of the overall global effort to scale up access to treatment.  A number of hurdles still lie ahead, and the damage done by the Committee will need to be reversed.  The campaign continues.

Richard Elliott
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
www.aidslaw.ca/camr 

_____________________________

MEDIA CLIPPINGS: BILL C-393

- AMENDMENTS WATER DOWN ACCESS-TO-MEDICINE BILL Gloria Galloway, Globe and Mail, November 2, 2010 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/amendments-water-down-access-to-medicine-bill/article1781899/ 

- ACCESS TO MEDICINE BILL `GUTTED' BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE
Byline: Amy Minsky, Vancouver Sun - Mon Nov 1 2010 http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Access+medicine+bill+gutted+parliamentary+committee/3763806/story.html 

- CONSERVATIVES & LIBERALS GUT BILL TO SEND DRUGS TO AFRICA New Democratic Party of Canada news release, Nov 1, 2010 http://www.ndp.ca/press/conservatives-liberals-gut-bill-to-send-drugs-to-africa 

- GARNEAU GUTS AIDS BILL AT COMMONS COMMITTEE Dale Smith Xtra, Monday, November 01, 2010 http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Garneau_guts_AIDS_bill_at_Commons_committee-9363.aspx 
  
- FAILING AIDS VICTIMS
Toronto Star - Mon Nov 1 2010
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/article/883744--drug-regime-failing-aids-victims   

- OPINION: FEARMONGERING THREATENS DRUG BILL; LEGISLATION WOULD HELP GENERIC MAKERS SUPPLY DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Byline: Rachel Kiddell-Monroe, James Orbinski and Richard Elliott, Source: Edmonton Journal, Page: A17, Edition: Final - Mon Nov 1 2010 http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Fearmongering+threatens+drug+bill/3756623/story.html 

- DRUG ACCESS BILL LOOKS DEAD
Amy Minsky, Edmonton Journal, October 29, 2010 http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Drug+access+bill+looks+dead/3744144/story.html 

- NDP MEDICINE BILL HAS K'NAAN, ATWOOD SIGNING SAME TUNE GLORIA GALLOWAY Globe and Mail, October 28, 2010 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ndp-medicine-bill-has-knaan-atwood-singing-same-tune/article1777112/ 

- NDP'S ACCESS TO MEDICINES BILL FACES CHALLENGES Dale Smith Xtra, Thursday, October 28, 2010 http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/NDPs_access_to_medicines_bill_faces_challenges-9354.aspx 

- ACCESS-TO-MEDICINES BILL LOOKS LIKELY TO DIE
Byline: Amy Minsky, Source: Postmedia News The Province - Thu Oct 28 2010 http://www.theprovince.com/business/Access+medicine+bill+looks+likely/3742996/story.html 

- OPINION: LIFELINE FOR PATIENTS IN JEOPARDY
Byline: Rachel Kiddell-Monroe, James Orbinski and Richard Elliott, Ottawa Citizen Special, Page: A15, Edition: Final - Thu Oct 28 2010 http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/op-ed/Lifeline+patients+jeopardy/3738170/story.html 

- OPINION: LIFELINE FOR PATIENTS IN JEOPARDY
Byline: Rachel Kiddell-Monroe, James Orbinski and Richard Elliott, The Gazette - Thu Oct 28 2010
http://www.montrealgazette.com/opinion/editorial-cartoons/Lifeline+patients+jeopardy/3738170/story.html?id=3738170 

- CAMR AT INDUSTRY COMMITTEE - MARATHON OF FAINT HOPE Hill Queeries: Ottawa's federal politics blog Xtra.ca, Tuesday, October 26, 2010 http://www.xtra.ca/blog/ottawa/post/2010/10/26/CAMR-at-Industry-Committee-e28093-marathon-of-faint-hope.aspx 

- FIXING ACCESS TO MEDICINES REGIME ESSENTIAL Richard Elliott - 26 October 2010 http://www.countercurrents.org/elliott261010.htm 

- ACCESS-TO-MEDICINE BILL GETS GRIM PROGNOSIS The Globe and Mail - 26 October 2010 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/access-to-medicine-bill-gets-grim-prognosis/article1773866/ 

- GRANDMOTHER SPEAKS OF STRUGGLE AGAINST HIV/AIDS Red Deer Advocate - 26 October 2010 http://www.albertalocalnews.com/reddeeradvocate/news/local/Grandmother_speaks_of_struggle_against_HIVAIDS_105766893.html 

- SYSTEM FOR SENDING AIDS MEDICATION OVERSEAS NEEDS OVERHAUL: ADVOCATES The Vancouver Sun - 23 October 2010 http://www.vancouversun.com/health/System+sending+AIDS+medication+overseas+needs+overhaul+Advocates/3722032/story.html 

- SYSTEM FOR SENDING AIDS MEDICATION OVERSEAS NEEDS OVERHAUL: ADVOCATES Leader-Post - 23 October 2010 http://www.leaderpost.com/business/System+sending+AIDS+medication+overseas+needs+overhaul+advocates/3717263/story.html 
 
- SYSTEM FOR SENDING AIDS MEDICATION OVERSEAS NEEDS OVERHAUL: ADVOCATES The StarPheonix - 23 October 2010 http://www.thestarphoenix.com/opinion/System+sending+AIDS+medication+overseas+needs+overhaul+advocates/3717263/story.html 

- OPINION: MP SHOULD BACK BILL C-393
Debby Andrews, CottageCountryNow.ca, October 13, 2010
http://www.cottagecountrynow.ca/opinion/letters/article/886992--mp-should-back-bill-c-393 

- OPINION: PASS THE BILL
Hilary Elliott, Calgary Herald, October 19, 2010 http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Pass+bill/3693035/story.html 

________________________________

CANADIAN HIV/AIDS LEGAL NETWORK

For immediate release  / Également disponible en français

Ottawa, 1 November 2010 -- Activists for affordable medicines for developing countries watched and listened in horror this morning as a majority of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology destroyed the core reforms proposed by Bill C-393 to fix Canada's moribund Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR).

Liberal MP Marc Garneau and the five Conservative members of the Industry committee gutted the key clauses of Bill C-393 aimed at creating the one-licence solution that has been endorsed by dozens of Canadian civil society organizations and various international legal experts as a sensible alternative to the current, dysfunctional mechanism in CAMR.  It also has the support of more than 80% of Canadians and a growing list of prominent individuals including former Prime Minister Paul Martin.

"This was a shameful display of putting the interests of the extraordinarily profitable brand-name pharmaceutical industry ahead of the lives of millions of poor people who need low-priced, affordable medicines," said Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.  The Legal Network has campaigned for years to reform CAMR to make it workable and provided detailed analysis to the Committee outlining the rationale behind the various provisions of Bill C-393.

CAMR was created unanimously by Parliament in 2004 to facilitate the export of lower-cost, generic medicines to eligible developing countries.  In more than six years, it has resulted in only one licence being issued to authorize the export of one order of only one AIDS drug to one country (Rwanda). 

Elliott said the evidence before the Committee was unequivocal that CAMR needs to be fixed.  "The generic manufacturer that has tried to use CAMR has indicated it wont try again unless the system is changed.  Humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières tried for months to use CAMR to purchase medicines, but ultimately abandoned the effort.  No other developing country has sought to use CAMR.  How much longer is the government going to wait before it accepts that the system doesn't work?  How many more people have to die?"

"The experience illustrates that the current system is operationally flawed.  In particular, a major barrier has been the requirement that, in seeking a licence to export, a generic drug manufacturer must identify in advance a single developing country and a fixed maximum quantity of a medicine for that country and then repeat a cumbersome licencing process every single time.  The current regime is not economically viable for generic manufacturers or procedurally user-friendly for developing countries," said Elliott.

Bill C-393 as introduced sought to remove the current practical barriers to making use of the regime.  The bill proposed putting in place a one-licence mechanism that would enable a generic drug maker to get a single licence authorizing exports of a medicine to any of the eligible countries already in the current law, and to supply the quantities of medicines required by countries as their needs evolve over time.

The five Conservative MPs who voted to gut Bill C-393 of its core provisions are: Mike Lake (Edmonton Mill Woods Beaumont); Peter Braid (Kitchener-Waterloo); Gordon Brown (Leeds Grenville); Dave Van Kesteren (Chatham); and Cathy McLeod (Kamloops Thompson Cariboo), substituting for Mike Wallace (Burlington).  The Conservative members then even voted, unsuccessfully, against the watered-down bill being sent on to the House of Commons.

The lone Liberal MP to join with the Conservatives in excising the key feature of Bill C-393 was Marc Garneau (Westmount Ville-Marie).

Liberal MPs Dan McTeague (Pickering-Scarborough East) and Anthony Rota (Nipissing-Timiskaming) voted in favour of keeping the core provisions of Bill C-393 intact.

Bloc Quebecois MPs Luc Malo (Verchères-Les Patriotes) and Robert Bouchard (Chicoutimi-Le Fjord) voted in support of keeping the key clause in Bill C-393 intact, but stated that they anticipated some further issues to be raised at future stages.

NDP MP Brian Masse (Windsor West) is the primary champion of Bill C-393, taking over from his former caucus colleague Judy Wasylycia-Leis.

For more on Bill C-393 and Canadas Access to Medicines Regime, see www.aidslaw.ca/camr.
 
-30-

For further information and interviews:

Christopher Holcroft
Principal, Empower Consulting for the Legal Network
Telephone: +1 416 996-0767
E-mail: chris_holcroft at yahoo.com 

Gilleen Witkowski
Communications Assistant for the Legal Network
Telephone: +1 416 595-1666, ext.  240
E-mail: gwitkowski at aidslaw.ca 

________________________________________________
Richard Elliott
 
Executive Director | Directeur général
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network | Réseau juridique canadien VIH/sida 
+1 416 595-1666 ext. 229
relliott at aidslaw.ca | www.aidslaw.ca
 
Children Can't Wait! Dying for Drugs in Developing Countries - see www.aidslaw.ca/camr
Les enfants ne peuvent attendre! Le manque de médicaments tue, dans les pays en développement - voir www.aidslaw.ca/rcam
 	 
 




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