First-ever compulsory licence issued under
Canada's access to medicines regime
But MPs must simplify law to make it truly effective, says Legal Network
September 21, 2007 -- For Immediate Release
TORONTO, September 21, 2007 - The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network welcomed
yesterday's announcement by the Commissioner of Patents that the first
compulsory licence has been issued under Canada's Access to Medicines
Regime, paving the way for an affordable AIDS drug to be manufactured in
Canada and exported to Rwanda.
"This is big step forward in finally getting at least one affordable
medicine from Canada to a developing country in need," said Executive
Director Richard Elliott. "But it's also a wake-up call to MPs to make the
Regime work more quickly, efficiently and effectively. As it stands, the
Regime is too full of red tape, and it's slowing down what should be a
rapid response to desperate calls from developing countries for affordable
medicines of all kinds."
Canada's Access to Medicines Regime is meant to allow generic drug
companies in Canada to produce and export lower-cost versions of
brand-name drugs to developing countries. It was passed in May 2004, but
has never delivered on its promise - not a single pill has left Canada.
The Legal Network has repeatedly urged members of Parliament to streamline
the Regime, and has outlined the necessary measures to do so.
The compulsory licence issued yesterday allows generic drug manufacturer
Apotex Inc. to produce Apo-Triavir, a single, fixed-dose combination drug
that helps treat people living with HIV/AIDS. Apo-Triavir combines three
patented brand-name drugs: zidovudine, lamivudine and nevirapine. Two
months ago, Rwanda notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of its
intention to import 260 000 packs of Apo-Triavir from Canada over the next
"It's taken over three years just to get this close to filling a single
order for a single drug. Even if this order goes through, there's clearly
a lot that's wrong with the Regime. We've told MPs how to fix it. Now we
need them to act," concluded Elliott.
About the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (www.aidslaw.ca) promotes the human rights of people living with
and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, in Canada and internationally, through
research, legal and policy analysis, education, and community
mobilization. The Legal Network is Canada's leading advocacy organization
working on the legal and human rights issues raised by HIV/AIDS.
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Areas of expertise: AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) - AIDS & Aboriginals - AIDS/Developing Countries - AIDS & HIV - AIDS/Human Rights - AIDS/Injection Drug Use - AIDS/Legal Issues - AIDS/Needle Exchanges - AIDS Testing - AIDS/Treatment - Complementary Therapies - Decriminalization/Drugs - Discrimination - Drug Laws/Policies - Drug Patents - Drug Pricing - Global Justice - Harm Reduction/Drugs & Alcohol - Health Care/Prisoners - Health & Law - Health Policy/Developing Countries - Health Policy Research - Health/Social Justice Issues - Human Rights - Human Rights/Disabled Persons - Human Rights & Health - Human Rights/Policy & Legislation - Injection Drug Users - International Trade Law - Law/Ethics - Legal Research - Policy Analysis - Policy Research - Prisoners & AIDS - Privacy Protection - Prostitution Laws - Substance Abuse - Vaccines - Women & AIDS