After a four year delay since Canada launched its Access to Medicine initiative, an emergency shipment of antiretroviral medication has been shipped to Rwanda. The pharmaceutical company, Apotex, markets the medication under the name Apo-TriAvir, A triple-combination HIV/AIDS fixed-dose medication, TriAvir combines three drugs to control HIV-1 infections in settings where more preferred therapies cannot be used. The shipment contains sufficient medication to treat 21,000 Rwandans.
While Apotex is scheduled to send a second shipment in September of next year, the bureacratic delays that have hampered efforts to provide low-cost medication to Third World nations has met with fierce criticism. Apotex has indicated that the Canadian government and the World Health Organization need to reform their procedures for exporting medications to countries where they are needed.
While Canada's Access to Medicine Regime (CAMR) was design to streamline the importing of generic versions of patented drugs and medical devices to developing nations, there have been critical delays in implementing the legislation. The current emergency shipment was secured through with the aid of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). Sources for MSF and Apotex have expressed strong pessimism over future medical shipments being arranged given the three-year legal battle required to secure the current shipment.
The death toll for AIDS has already exceeded 30 million with an additional 40 million currently living with the infection.For further background information.