Lives over profits petition: Foreign Committee takes on MSF’s recommendations towards more equitable access to medicines
In October 2020, we delivered a petition with more than 91,000 signatures to Canada’s Minister of Health, calling on the Canadian government to take immediate steps to ensure fair, affordable and equitable access to any medicines, vaccines or other health technologies developed with Canadian public funds, including in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government is listening.
The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development just released a report on overcoming the barriers to global vaccine equity and ending the pandemic, and we are heartened to see that it not only mentions MSF’s testimony on several occasions but has taken on several of our recommendations, namely:
- That the Government of Canada ensure that its agreements to provide research and development funding include clauses that allow intellectual property resulting from that funding – including vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics – to be easily licensed to manufacturers serving low- and middle-income countries.
- That the Government of Canada continue to consider the funding it provides to the ACT-Accelerator as distinct from, and supplementary to, its official development assistance.
- That the Government of Canada advocate for an extension of the June 2022 Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement to cover the production and supply of COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics.
- That the Government of Canada immediately launch a public consultation on Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR) and publish the findings within one year of the tabling of this report in Parliament, and improve its communications and administration related to the CAMR.
Now it’s time for the Canadian government to translate these recommendations into concrete action to get a step closer to our goal of medicines and vaccines being affordable, available and accessible to people who need them most.
Joseph Belliveau, MSF Canada Executive Director
Dr. Jason Nickerson, MSF’s Humanitarian Representative to Canada