On May 18th, the People’s Vaccine Alliance sent Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, a letter urgently requesting that vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for COVID-19 be added to Schedule 1 of the Patent Act. Below is the text of the PVA letter, and a May 26, 2021 communication from H. Chancy of behalf of the PM.
18 May 2021
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ontario 1A 0A2
CC: The Honourable Mary Ng, M.P., Minister for Trade; The Honourable Patty Hajdu, M.P. Minister for Health
Re: Place vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for COVID 19 on Schedule 1 of the Canada patent act
Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing on behalf of the People’s Vaccine Alliance to request that the government of Canada act now to place vaccines and therapeutics for treatment of COVID 19 on Schedule 1 of the Canada Patent Act. This is an obvious and necessary measure to allow Canadian manufacturers to export vaccines to developing countries under the Canadian Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR). We are honestly confused as to why the government of Canada has claimed in global fora that a TRIPS waiver is not needed because Canada’s CAMR has illustrated how existing WTO flexibilities have “worked as intended,” while at the same time, making it legally impossible to use the CAMR for COVID 19, by rejecting longstanding requests to place COVID 19 on the CAMR Schedule 1.
As noted by a group of Canadian experts in their April 27 2021 letter “The addition of COVID-19 vaccines to Schedule 1 would ensure that the Schedule aligns with immediate demand for COVID-19 vaccines to combat the ongoing global pandemic, instead of acting as an inhibitor.”
The inaction to date to place COVID 19 on the CAMR Schedule 1 is at risk of signalling that the government of Canada is more interested in protecting monopolies for vaccines than scaling capacity to ensure more can be produced and at lower prices at a time when both are desperately needed.
Chair of the People’s Vaccine Alliance
From: Prime Minister | Premier Ministre
Sent: 26 May 2021 22:13
To: Max Lawson
Cc: Patricia A. Hajdu; Mary Ng
Subject: Office of the Prime Minister / Cabinet du Premier ministre
Dear Mr. Lawson:
On behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, I would like to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence of May 18, 2021, requesting the federal government place COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics on Schedule 1 of the Patent Act.
Please be assured that your comments, offered on behalf of the People’s Vaccine Alliance, have been carefully reviewed. I note that you have also sent copies of your email and attached letter to the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, and the Honourable Patricia A. Hajdu, Minister of Health. While the Prime Minister appreciates being made aware of your correspondence, he will leave your comments to be considered by the Ministers.
Thank you for taking the time to write.
Executive Correspondence Officer
/Agente de correspondance
Executive Correspondence Services/
Services de la correspondance de la haute direction