Health Canada fails to enforce rules on direct-to-consumer advertising for pharmaceuticals

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, when it comes to advertising, pharmaceutical companies appear to have free reign. Apparently, the minister believes that these companies should just regulate themselves.

A newly released study shows that Health Canada is failing on its advertising regulatory responsibilities, and when Canadians complain about public safety risks, a private chat with a company is all that is required, according to the government.

Why does the minister refuse to enforce her own department's regulations?

Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC): Mr. Speaker, what the article the member is referring to, read and is quoting from missed is that the law is now clear. Under the new law, which is Vanessa's law, tough new fines and jail time for companies who violate drug laws, including advertising, can be imposed.

Our laws for prescription drug advertising are far stronger than those in the U.S. and comparable to the EU. The law is clear. Advertising prescription drugs to consumers is prohibited.

Any complaints will be reviewed and we will act.

This Question Period Transcript was posted on December 9, 2014