Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the government does not need to hold an online consultation to find out that the voluntary system is not working. All it needs to do is open a newspaper.
Today we see another story of hospitals in Quebec paying significantly more for the chemo drug, Paclitaxel because there is a shortage of it.
The minister has said that if a voluntary system is not working, she will move to mandatory reporting. Will the minister finally acknowledge what we have been saying all along and now introduce mandatory reporting for drug shortages?
Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as I said, the voluntary system is working to a certain extent to ensure that those drugs are posted and that we are aware of what drugs can be used to replace them.
However, the member has to recognize that these consultations are important because not all drug shortages will be fixed through mandatory reporting. It can be a much more complex issue on a global scale in terms of the kinds of shortages that we have seen.
We are working very closely with the provinces and the territories and the drug manufacturers to make sure, whether it is voluntary or mandatory, we are addressing drug shortages.