Canadian government must put patients at the heart of legislation
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network are encouraged by Health Minister Tony Clement’s statement at the XVI International AIDS conference in Toronto on August 16th that the Canadian government will launch an immediate review of the Jean Chretien Pledge to Africa (JCPA). This law, passed two years ago, is intended to allow Canadian generic companies to produce and export drugs to developing countries. However the legislation has failed miserably - to date not a single drug has left Canada.
MSF and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network urge the Canadian government to uphold their commitment and review the legislation immediately. There is concern that the urgency of improving the Canadian legislation will be lost once the spotlight on HIV issues has ended after the International AIDS Conference.
The end of the conference does not signal the end of this tragic pandemic, as millions of people with HIV/AIDS wait to get access to treatment that could prolong and save their lives. Since the Canadian law was passed in 2004, thousands of people in need of treatment could have been saved. The Canadian government must demonstrate true vision and leadership making the urgent need for access to medicines central to the rewriting of this, to date irrelevant, legislation.