Libby asks the Health Minister why a dying woman had to wait 2 months for necessary treatment

House of Commons


October 18, 2012

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):  

Mr. Speaker, the minister is missing the point. This is about a system that does not work and the need for the minister to sometimes choose compassion over bureaucratic red tape.

Unfortunately, Madam Lajoie passed away last Tuesday. Her drugs were finally approved last week, but not without a two-month battle to get them, and no help at all from the minister even after we raised the issue repeatedly with her.

It is now too late for Madam Lajoie but would the minister at least promise that this sad situation will never repeat itself?

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, as I said last week, the process starts when a physician applies under the special access program. Within 24 hours, Health Canada responds to the applications. The special access program is available to individuals who require drugs. Under the normal system, it would probably take about 12 months. The special program is there to access drugs and within a month that application was approved.   Again, I would be happy to provide a briefing to all members of the House on the special access program if the members require more information.