A bill to repair Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR) has returned to the House of Commons order paper, courtesy of NDP MP Hélène Laverdière.
CAMR, the mechanism that allows cheap generic drugs for diseases like HIV and TB to flow to the developing world by means of patent exemptions, passed in 2004, but bureaucratic hurdles have proven so cumbersome that it has been used only once.
A similar reform bill passed in the previous Parliament but died in the Senate when the last election was called.
“We are reintroducing it, and we are expecting support from all parties,” says Laverdière, a former Canadian diplomat who lived in Africa for years. “I have a personal connection to the issue. I’m going to carry the torch.”
The previous version of the bill went through several changes over its lifespan. The new version, Bill C-398, incorporates some of those changes and streamlines others.
“The bill has been cleaned up,” Laverdière says. “There was some wording that could be ambiguous.
“It’s the same spirit, but I like to call it an improved bill.”
Laverdière pledges to make the bill her “baby” over the coming months. “It’s too important to a lot of people in Canada, it’s too important for a lot of people around the world, it’s too important for me, and I know it’s too important for a lot of my fellow MPs.”