Responding to a global pandemic in a way that minimizes both the loss of life and the potential emergence of new, more contagious and deadly variants requires that as many people around the world have access to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutic as quickly and safely as possible;
From the early days of the pandemic, pharmaceutical and device manufacturers have prioritized profits over saving lives by restricting supply in low and middle-income countries, leaving large numbers untreated;
Under Canada's Access to Medicines Regime, Canadian manufacturers can apply for compulsory licences to produce and export lower-cost versions of life-saving products to low-and middle-income countries that lack the manufacturing capacity to respond to public health emergencies;
The first step in granting a compulsory licence is to have the requisite product added to Schedule 1 of the Patent Act;
In 2005, during the global H5N1 Bird Flu outbreak, Biolyse Pharma, after "seven months" of lobbying, had Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) added to Schedule 1 of the Patent Act; and
The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE) report recommended the Government improve its communication and administration related to CAMR.
We, the undersigned, Citizens of Canada, call upon the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to:
1. Recommend the Governor in Council as per S.21.03(1)(a) of the Patent Act immediately add avian flu vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics to Schedule 1, thereby permitting export under Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR) for Humanitarian reasons; and
2. Improve communications and administration related to CAMR, update CAMR website and contact information and repair broken links to critical information.