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Friday, February 17, 2012

NDP rekindles campaign to bring life-saving medicine to those most in need

NDP rekindles campaign to bring life-saving medicine to those most in need

Bill would facilitate the delivery of affordable medicine to developing countries

February 16, 2012

OTTAWA – Official Opposition Foreign Affairs Critic Hélène Laverdière today reintroduced an NDP Private Members Bill (formerly Bill C-393) that would ensure life-saving medicines get to people in developing countries who need them the most.

The bill would modify legislation affecting Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR). CAMR, adopted unanimously by Parliament in 2004, allows for the export of generic versions of pharmaceuticals to developing countries in order to tackle HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria, and other serious diseases. But in practice, CAMR is too mired in red-tape for countries or generic drug companies to use.

“We urgently need to reform CAMR,” Laverdière said. “This is one tool we can use to address the Global AIDS Crisis – and eighty per cent of Canadians support this initiative.”

Laverdière noted that a child dies every three seconds around the world from the lack of quality medicine. “We have a moral obligation to get life-saving drugs to the people who need them most,” she said. “This bill will restore Canada to a position of leadership on global public health.”

The NDP bill was initially introduced by former New Democrat MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis in a previous Parliament, and was later taken on by MPs Brian Masse and Paul Dewar. Laverdière is confident that the reintroduction of this bill would build on the momentum achieved last March when it passed a vote in the House of Commons with a healthy majority, only to die on the Order Paper in the Senate when the election was called.

“This bill has already received significant support from all parties in the House of Commons,” said Laverdière. “Over the coming months I will be encouraging my fellow Parliamentarians to take this opportunity to support life-saving legislation. Together, we can improve the lives of countless people.”

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