On the occasion of World Malaria Day 2012, I am reminded of the desperate need for life-saving generic medicines to fight this disease. While the last few years have seen declining mortality rates from malaria thanks to malaria control interventions, these gains are fragile and many challenges remain. We must continue to invest in malaria control. One of the ways to do this is by ensuring broad access to life-saving medicines. Malaria treatment and prevention saves more lives than any other health interventions in sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of childhood immunization.
In February, I introduced my Private Members Bill C-398 on generic drugs for international humanitarian purposes. This bill would modify legislation in regards to Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR), which allows for the export of generic versions of pharmaceuticals to developing countries in order to help address HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other diseases. As it exists, CAMR is failing to meet its goals. Bill C-398, which will cost nothing, will make CAMR easier to use – and these improvements will allow Canadian generic companies to send life-saving medicines to the people who so desperately need them.
In these tough economic times, development assistance is constantly threatened. Let’s increase our commitment to malaria prevention and treatment. Let’s reform CAMR and give children in Africa a chance. Together, we can roll back malaria.