Castlegar News

MP denounces Tories over drug vote

BC Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko - A. Atamanenko Constituency Office
BC Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko
— image credit: A. Atamanenko Constituency Office

Saving lives takes back seat in Conservative vote defeating Bill C-398 (drugs for international humanitarian purposes)

Ottawa, ON –BC Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko is denouncing Conservatives that voted to defeat Bill C-398 meant to amend the patent act and save millions of lives in the developing world.  “This bill, introduced by NDP MP Hélène Laverdière, was supported by over 80 international NGOS, faith leaders, more than 250 Canadian civil society organizations and by 80 per cent of Canadians,” stated the BC MP.”The Conservative government should be deeply ashamed for killing the hopes of so many.”

Atamanenko says this defeat is a devastating blow to those that have driven the campaign over the last year, especially the Grandmothers Advocacy Network and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.

“A previous version of this bill had passed through several stages in the House and was before the Senate when a federal election was called and the bill died,” noted Atamanenko. “Yesterday’s defeat is even more poignant after having come so close in the past.”

Bill C-398 would have had an enormous impact by simply removing the red tape surrounding Canada’s 2004 Access to Medicines Regime, which permits generic companies to produce patent-protected drugs to send to developing countries, where their needs are still so great.

As Hélène Laverdière said, “It is the people in these countries that lost in yesterday’s vote due to the Conservatives’ stubborn refusal to accept this bill.”

“That Canadians very much wanted to help save the lives of millions of people with the passage of C-398 was not a factor to Conservatives who contributed to the defeat of this bill,” concluded Atamanenko. “I would not want this on my conscience.”

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