Libby questions the Conservative government’s inaction on drug shortages


House of Commons


January 31, 2013

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker,

For more than two years the Minister of Health has failed to address the critical issue of drug shortages.

Health Canada experts warned that a voluntary system would not work, but the minister ignored them.

Now the crisis continues. A recent survey shows that 94% of pharmacists are still experiencing shortages of the drugs that patients need.

Why is the minister ignoring the facts and putting the health of Canadians at risk?

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

Mr. Speaker, our approach has been to work with the provinces and the drug companies so they can share information about drug shortages publicly on a website.  It was also encouraging that at this year’s health ministers meeting, all ministers agreed to work collaboratively on the issue.  We will also continue to monitor whether companies make the information available to doctors and patients and if they do not, then we are open to considering passing regulations requiring them to do so.