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UNICEF urging Members of Parliament to support medicines for all legislation

2012-11-26

TORONTO, November 26, 2012 – UNICEF Canada is urging Members of Parliament to support Bill C-398 to amend Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime during this week’s vote in the House of Commons so the Bill can be further studied and better understood.

 
Bill C-398 will help the world’s most vulnerable women and children access life-saving medicines without any additional cost to Canadian tax-payers or the government
 
“The Canadian Parliament owes this to the children and women who are unable to access affordable medicines around the world,” says UNICEF Canada’s President and CEO David Morley. “It is unacceptable that only 42 per cent of the estimated 1.5 million infants born worldwide to mothers with HIV receive the life-saving treatment needed to prevent the disease.” 
 
This Wednesday November 28th MPs will vote on whether this Bill should die or if it should be studied further in committee.
 
Back in 2004 the Canadian Parliament voted unanimously to create CAMR to allow export of lower-cost medicines to the world’s most vulnerable people to help address diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. But CAMR was tangled in red tape and since being introduced five years ago it has only been used once to export one shipment of one drug to one country. 
 
In the last Parliament, CAMR came close to being fixed when Members of Parliament from every party came together and supported a Bill, which would make it more user friendly. Unfortunately, the Bill died when the federal election was called.
 
There is currently a lot of misinformation circulating about Bill C-398 so UNICEF is meeting with as many MPs as possible to present the facts as well as the need to reform CAMR to build on Canada’s efforts to save the lives of the hardest to reach children and women.
 
“The Canadian Government has already shown leadership around maternal, newborn and child health through the Muskoka Initiative. Increasing access to lifesaving medicines is an important way of strengthening this commitment,” says Morley. 
 
Canadians care about this issue and are taking action. In less than a week more than 1,200 Canadians have supported UNICEF’s Meds4all campaign by asking their MP to support this important piece of legislation.
 
Learn more about UNICEF’s Meds4all campaign at unicef.ca/meds4all.
 
About UNICEF
 
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, and food security, education, emergency relief and more. 
 
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.    
 
For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.