Canada is on the verge of becoming the first nation to honour a World Trade Organization (wto) pledge on making available cheap generic drugs for hiv/aids-afflicted people in developing countries. The Canadian House of Commons unanimously approved a bill (c-9) that would amend the country's patent laws. The proposed legislation will empower the government to override patents and allow certain pharmaceutical manufacturers to produce and export generic drugs, including anti-retroviral drugs, for use in developing countries.
As per the bill, about 50 countries are to receive generic drugs at a fraction of their costs prevalent in Canada. Some leading international aid groups, however, remain critical as they feel it is too friendly to commercial pharmaceutical giants. Others feel that the bill is one of a handful that the current Canadian dispensation under Paul Martin is pushing through to clear the way for a snap general election.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.