UNICEF Canada disappointed Bill C-398 - Medicines for All Legislation - does not pass second reading in Parliament

TORONTO, Nov. 28, 2012 /CNW/ - UNICEF Canada is extremely disappointed Bill C-398 to amend Canada's Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR) failed to pass second reading in Parliament this evening.

"We are highly disappointed with the result of tonight's vote. This Bill would have helped get life-saving medicine to the world's most vulnerable children without any additional costs to the government or Canadians. This is a missed opportunity and it is children who will suffer most," says UNICEF Canada's President and CEO David Morley.

Currently only 42 per cent of the estimated 1.5 million infants born worldwide to mothers with HIV receive the antiretroviral (ARV) treatments needed to prevent transmission of the disease.

If passed, Bill C-398 would have strengthened Canada's position as a true global leader on newborn, child and maternal health. The Bill proposed critical amendments to CAMR removing the unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles that have made the process impossible to use.

UNICEF Canada has worked tirelessly over the last month meeting with MPs to educate them on the Bill. Canadians also showed their support of Bill C-398 with more than 1,200 people supporting UNICEF Canada's Meds4all campaign in less than a week.

UNICEF Canada was hopeful the Bill would be sent to committee to be further studied. The Bill is now dead due largely to incorrect information that has circulated which swayed enough MPs to vote against it.

"Tonight's vote is out of sync with the leadership Canada has shown through the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health which has done so much to save children's lives around the world. Now CAMR will remain virtually useless," says Morley. "Although this is a setback, we will continue to work with everyone involved to ensure children have better access to life-saving medicines."

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.


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