Canada's medical students urge the federal government to deliver on its pledge to Africa

    OTTAWA, May 14 /CNW Telbec/ - On the five-year anniversary of Canada's
Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR), the Canadian Federation of Medical Students
(CFMS) joins many other concerned Canadians and international experts in
efforts to fix CAMR.
    When the Canadian government unanimously passed this world-leading
initiative in 2004, it aimed to get more affordable, generic medicines to
patients in the developing world. Unfortunately, the law is considered
ineffective in its current form, and has only resulted in one shipment of
medications in its five-year existence.
    "Canada has a well-developed generic pharmaceutical industry, and we can
be global leaders to ease the suffering of millions by enacting effective CAMR
legislation," states Austin Gagné, a University of Ottawa medical student and
CFMS Representative. He noted the commitment made by Canada's largest generic
manufacturer to produce a paediatric fixed-dose combination AIDS drug, if CAMR
is simplified.
    On March 31, Senator Yoine Goldstein presented Bill S-232 which would
implement most of the reforms that the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the
broader coalition of NGOs in the Global Treatment Access Group (GTAG) have
been recommending for years-a "one-licence solution".
    In response to nationwide medical student involvement in global health
and CAMR reform campaigns, CFMS members voted at their recent Bi-Annual
General Meeting to support CAMR reform, as proposed by Senator Goldstein and
the coalition of NGOs.
    The Canadian Federation of Medical Students provides representation for
approximately 7000 students at 14 medical schools from coast to coast. In
recognition of medical student concern for global health issues, the CFMS has
created a Global Health Program, and among its aims is global health advocacy.
    "Our medical training prepares us to fulfill our various roles in society
as a physician-one of these roles is to be a health advocate. Becoming
involved in global health issues gives us the opportunity to advocate for the
health of the many vulnerable individuals in developing nations." states
Jonathan DellaVedova, CFMS President.
    The CFMS is proud of Canada's leadership in enacting CAMR, but concerned
by the failure of the regime to deliver to date. The CFMS calls on all
parliamentarians to enact the necessary reforms to facilitate the delivery of
low-cost, generic medicines to the developing world.

For further information:

For further information: Austin Gagné, Canadian Federation of Medical
Students, Student Representative, University of Ottawa, (613) 608-7096,; Mattias Berg, President, UBC Medical Undergraduate
Society, University of British Columbia, (604) 224-0249,;
Amit Shah, Canadian Federation of Medical Students, Student Representative,
Dalhousie University, (902) 402-5740

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Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS)

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