Canadian Senate Passes Bill That Would Allow Manufacture of Generic AIDS, Other Drugs for Developing Countries
The Canadian Senate -- the upper house of Parliament -- on Thursday endorsed a bill (C-9) that would allow the export of generic drugs to developing countries, making the country the first wealthy nation to pass such legislation, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 5/13). The measure, which the House of Commons approved earlier this month, would amend the country's patent laws to permit the government to order the override of patents to allow certain pharmaceutical manufacturers to produce and export generic drugs -- including antiretroviral drugs -- for use in developing countries (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/13). The generic drug bill has been a "top priority" for Prime Minister Paul Martin and was seen as one of the "final hurdles" before calling for a general election, which will end the current session of Parliament and end consideration of any pending legislation, according to AFP/Yahoo! News. The legislation will become law when it receives royal assent, which is expected to occur on Friday, according to an unnamed Senate aide, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 5/13). The bill's passage came the day after Martin announced that the country will double its contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to more than $50 million for fiscal year 2005-2006 and two days after Martin announced a $72 million contribution to the World Health Organization's 3 by 5 Initiative, which aims to treat three million people in the developing world with antiretroviral drugs by 2005 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.