Drug bill's flaws
Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - Page A18

Calgary -- Bill C-56 on generic drugs has other flaws beyond the most
serious one of "the right of first refusal" (Bill Won't Give Poor Nations
Drugs They Need, Envoy Warns -- Feb. 14). This legislation presently
includes a limited list of drugs. It means that many of the drugs needed in
poor countries are excluded.

The next flaw is the need for this legislation to include all countries
that need these drugs, not just those that belong to the World Trade
Organization or are the least developed countries.

Finally, although the bill would allow generic drug companies to contract
with governments, it would not allow companies to contract directly with
non-governmental organizations, which are often the critical providers of
health care in many developing countries.

Bill C-56 is ground-breaking legislation, so Canada has lots to be proud
of, but first let's make sure we get it right for the benefit of those who
are dying from the lack of these drugs.

Catherine Little

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