[Ip-health] Students Urge Parliament to Make Medicines Affordable Worldwide

Bryan Collinsworth bcollinsworth at essentialmedicine.org
Wed Mar 9 12:33:51 PST 2011

From: Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
Date: Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Subject: Students Urge Parliament to Make Medicines Affordable Worldwide


*With pivotal vote today, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines calls
on House of Commons to reform Access to Medicines Regine (CAMR)*

For Immediate Release: March 9, 2011
Contact: Rachel Kiddell-Monroe, 514-226-7003

VANCOUVER – University students across Canada are calling on the House of
Commons to vote today to ease the export of affordable, life-saving
medicines to developing countries. Universities Allied for Essential
Medicines, a non-profit organization of medical, law and undergraduate
students working to improve global health, supports bill C-393, which would
make important fixes to Canada's Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR) and comes
to a vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday night.

"This is a chance for Canada to help millions of patients in developing
countries get the medicines they need to survive," said Aria Ilyad Ahmad, a
graduate student in international pharmaceutical policy at the University of
Toronto. "That will only happen if the House of Commons fixes our Access to
Medicines Regime so it does what it was always supposed to do: help poor
nations buy Canadian-made generic drugs at affordable prices, without a lot
of red tape."

The Access to Medicines Regime was created to allow developing countries to
quickly purchase low-priced generic medicines from Canadian manufacturers
and provide them to patients in desperate need. Unfortunately, the
legislation's legal complexities have rendered it ineffective in practice.
Among other hurdles, separate negotiations are required for each country
seeking to purchase a certain generic medicine, and countries are not
allowed to increase the quantity of their drug purchase even if the number
of patients who need the treatment increases during negotiation.

Among other fixes, bill C-393 would reform CAMR so that a drug can be made
available to all countries that need it through a single license-meaning
medicines will reach patients in need much faster. NDP Member of Parliament
Paul Dewar, a leader in the effort to reform CAMR to increase its
effectiveness, is the sponsor of bill C-393. However, the pharmaceutical
industry and many MPs continue to fiercely oppose the legislation.

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), in cooperation with many
civil society organizations, including the HIV/AIDS Legal Network in Canada,
is urging all Members of Parliament to support the changes to CAMR contained
in bill C-393. "Nearly a third of humanity does not have regular access to
essential medicines, and in the poorest parts of Africa and Asia this number
rises to over 50%," said Rachel Kiddell-Monroe, President of UAEM's Board of
Directors. "Reforming Canada's Access to Medicines Regime would be a truly
innovative and important step toward changing that, and would reaffirm
Canada's commitment to fighting global diseases. As always, the biggest
challenge to reform is simply a matter of courage and political will."

*About Universities Allied for Essential Medicines *

Universities Allied Essential Medicines (www.uaem.org) is a non-profit
organization rooted in a movement of university students around the world.
They actively seek to promote access to medicines for people in developing
countries and ensure that university medical research meets the needs of the
majority of the world's population.


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