Conservative Senators were issued a memo from Canada's Industry Mnister Tony Clement to vote against the proposed Bill C-393. If the Bill is voted down it would prevent Canadian comapnies from shipping cheap generic AIDS drugs to developing countries.
(photo: Tony clement in his riding, courtesy tonyclement.ca)
Tony Clement's memo:
Dear Conservative Senate Staff & Senators,
Senator Larry Smith had the opportunity to meet with pharmaceutical industry leaders in the Montreal area, all are against bill C-393 as it is extremely damaging to our ability to motivate companies to patent new drugs in Canada. Many jobs in Canada's research and development sector, stand to be lost as a result of this bill. I have attached the documents prepared by Mr. Tony Clement.
Nichole A. Beck
Vote Rationale C-393 CAMR
Under the current CAMR system, the process includes the following important steps:
* The product must be identified as safe and effective for human consumption
* The target country/population must be clearly defined and the request must come from the target government itself
* A tracking system must be in place to monitor the drugs flow from Canada to the target country/population to ensure consumption by intended group
* That under CAMR, only THAT drug identified for export can be sent to the intended country/population Stephen Lewis and his friends have said that these checks are the 'problem' and need to be removed. In fact, these steps are vital. If they are removed, the following consequences can result:
* Instead of one shipment of a particular drug, an advocate can be granted permission to break patents of multiple drugs and ship them to multiple locations, potentially for commercial purposes.
* Drugs that are not certified by Health Canada as being safe and effective could be shipped to unsuspecting populations, to their detriment.
* Drugs shipped under CAMR could be redirected to the black market with proceeds going to non-humanitarian causes such as weapons.
* If drugs are shipped without the consent of the home government, the drugs could run against their domestic laws and traditions.
* If C-393 is passed, Canada's CAMR will be out of step with our international trade obligations. And if current patents are threatened, the patent holders will leave Canada seeking shelter in countries which value patent protection. The loss to Canadian R & D will be significant.
Most importantly, Canadian Generics are some of the most expensive in the world. With C-393 or not, NGOs in the developing world will direct their precious resources to cheaper drugs coming from places like India and Asia. Testimony was clear - This is an irrelevant measure to address the problem of a lack of drugs in Africa.
Committee was clear that the solution to this problem is multifaceted and to that end, the
Government of Canada has:
1. Launched the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative
2. Made several contributions to organizations such as Health Partners International Canada (Jake Epp's group) who in turn have sent millions of doses of free drugs from Canadian pharmaceutical companies to the developing world
3. Supported the Global Fund, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the Clinton Foundation, to name a few. Please contact Minister Oda's office for more details. In all, close to $2.1 billion in International Aid flows to the developing world each year from Canada.
The bottom line is that C-393 lessens Canadian Patent Protection and vital health, safety, and verification of non-commercial purpose checks. Worst of all, it won't solve the problem. As such, Government members should oppose C-393.
(source: Xtra! article)