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Parliamentary motion on access to medicines could make treatment more affordable for Canadians and people around the world

November 8 2017 (Toronto) - Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) welcomes the Canadian Parliament’s passing of Motion M-132 (Federally funded health research). The Motion calls on Canada’s Standing Committee on Health to study how to improve access to Canadian-funded health research, with the aim of lowering the price of medicines in Canada and globally, and making access to medicines more affordable. This Motion recognizes the need for the Canadian government to take action to reverse the trend of high-priced medicines that prevent patients in Canada and in other countries from accessing lifesaving treatments.

“Policymakers can take tangible steps to improve access to medicines, particularly those that receive public funding directly through grants or indirectly through tax credits and other mechanisms,” explains Jason Nickerson, MSF’s Humanitarian Affairs Advisor. “We hope the study conducted by the Standing Committee on Health will hear from organizations such as MSF, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, and others with extensive experience in bringing affordable new treatments to market.

MSF also expects the Committee will incorporate the recommendations of many national and international reports — such as the United Nations High Level Panel on Access to Medicines — that provide practical recommendations on steps policymakers can take to improve access to medicines. As an emergency humanitarian medical aid provider who delivers care to millions of patients in close to 70 countries each year, MSF needs access to affordable lifesaving new medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and medical devices. Too often, essential medical tools are priced out of reach for patients and the health systems in many countries, leading to avoidable deaths and exacerbating medical humanitarian crises. These problems have existed for as long as MSF has delivered medical care in the last 45 years.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is the world's leading independent international medical relief organization, with medical projects in over 70 countries. MSF launched the Access to Medicines Campaign in 1999 to ensure medicines could be made available for all patients. Our mission is to increase the access to – and the development of – affordable, practical and effective medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tests for neglected diseases to save lives.

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