Canada’s prescription drugs cost second-highest of all OECD countries

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Canadians are facing escalating prescription costs. One in 10 cannot even afford to fill their medication costs. Canada has the second-highest spending, per capita, on prescription drugs of all OECD countries. The premiers have made it a clear priority to have drug coverage, but the current government is missing in action.

Why has the federal government failed so miserably in its leadership to reduce prescription drug costs for Canadians?

Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to discuss this issue with colleagues at our health ministers’ meeting, recently.

In fact, for the last year, I have been asking to have the federal government at the table to use our leverage and our expertise to help in bulk drug purchasing plans. We have now been invited to the table. I am very pleased to see that. And of course the Council of the Federation and the provinces have already seen hundreds of millions of dollars in savings, and we hope we can use our expertise and our leverage to even find more.