Libby urges action on drug shortages


House of Commons

March 13, 2012

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):  

Mr. Speaker, last night the House held an emergency debate on the serious question of drug shortages, and today the Minister of Health appeared in front of health committee.

The Minister is still blaming the Conservatives’ lack of action on everybody else.

We have proposed a mandatory reporting process as part of a strategy to anticipate, identify and manage these shortages, but the Minister is stuck on a voluntary approach that does not work.

What will it take before the Conservatives act on this serious crisis?

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

Mr. Speaker, hopefully the hon. member for Vancouver East will better understand the roles we all play in the drug supply process after last night’s debate, my appearance in committee this morning and tomorrow’s opposition day.  This is a serious matter, and our government respects the roles that each jurisdiction plays. We are not in the business of stepping into provincial and territorial jurisdictions.  I hope the hon. member will join this important debate and work with us, not against us.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, this issue is not about jurisdiction; it is about the Conservatives not paying attention and not showing leadership. The fact is that the minister has refused to stand up and show the leadership that is required on this crisis.

The provinces are calling for the minister to act. Patient advocates and health professionals are calling on the minister to act.

Will the minister admit that her voluntary plan has failed?

The Conservatives must expedite the Health Canada approval process and also guarantee the safety of Canadians.

When will the Conservatives listen to Canadians, not deny what is going on, and lead the effort to end these shortages?