Pharmaceutical: The Last Six Months
Of Federal Activity

About

This Report

This is a computer-generated report that shows all of the federal activity with respect to the keyword "Pharmaceutical" over the last six months. This is a demonstration of the power of our government relations automation software.

Hansard

House: 78 Speeches
Senate: 17 Speeches

House Senate

Bills

Active: 2

See Bills

Regulations

Filed: 2
Proposed: 0

Regulations

The House

Hon. Bill Morneau (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

June 5th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... use in electric vehicles, and employing more Canadians than any other key sectors like forestry or pharmaceuticals.

The clean technology industry in Canada employs about 55,000 people, includin...”

Hon. Peter Kent (Thornhill, CPC)

June 1st
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...the rise and public health services and hospitals unable to function because of a lack of essential pharmaceuticals, I will return to the motion I bring to the House today, Motion No. 128. Let me remi...”

Hon. Steven Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, CPC)

May 30th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...board of directors of National GreenBioMed, and Larry Campbell, a Liberal senator, is head of Vodis Pharmaceuticals. These two companies are waiting for a Health Canada licence to produce cannabis. On...”

Mr. Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway, NDP)

May 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...se crisis.

However, now we learn that one of the members of that panel was a paid adviser for pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue, a major opioid producer.

Given the record of misre...”

Mr. John Oliver (Oakville, Lib.)

May 17th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ians are paying too much for prescription drugs. We have the second highest per capita spending for pharmaceuticals in the OECD.

The government took quick action last year by joining the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance to leverage better prices with the collective buying power of the provinces ...”

Hon. Jane Philpott (Minister of Health, Lib.)

May 16th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...We are investing money in treatment. We are scaling up access to all ranges of treatment, including pharmaceutical grade diacetylmorphine. We are making sure we are expanding harm reduction sites, inc...”

Hon. Jane Philpott (Minister of Health, Lib.)

May 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... by the Senate would require that clients of supervised consumption sites be offered an alternative pharmaceutical therapy before they consumed substances at the site. While the intention of this amendment may be to encourage the provision of evidence-based treatment options to people who use drugs, it is critical that the application process for supervised consumption sites not be hindered by additional federal requirements for immediate access to treatment services. This could impose an additional burden and make it more difficult to establish and operate supervised consumption sites.

As written, this amendment could result in charter challenges on the grounds that an individual's safety and security could be jeopardized if that person could no longer access the services offered at a supervised consumption site. It also represents significant jurisdictional issues, since it could be construed as regulating a health service or clinical practice.

In addition, repeated offers of pharmaceutical treatment could actually discourage people who are not yet ready to begin treatment f...”

Hon. Jane Philpott

May 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...the member knows, by the unfortunate reality of the over-prescription of opioids based on deceptive pharmaceutical practices. This is an area we are working on as well with a number of medical educators and regulatory bodies.

What has made this crisis unprecedented are these new highly potent products. It affecting not just Canada but North America, and now we are seeing it even further around the world.

I am happy to tell the member about a number of initiatives. As I said, we are working with 42 organizations across the country, regulators and educators of health professionals, to make sure we understand the work that needs to be done to address over-prescription. We are, of course, also working with organizations across the country to expand access to treatment. I alluded in my notes to the fact that we have taken steps to allow products to come into the country. For example, there is the possibility of using pharmaceutical-grade diacetylmorphine as a treatment option, and we are encouraging multiple approac...”

Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Battle River—Crowfoot, CPC)

May 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...The third amendment directs those working at the site to offer the person using the site some legal pharmaceutical therapy before that person consumes or injects illegal drugs.

It is disappointing that the minister is flatly refusing to accept the amendments from the Senate. I believe that many Canadians would feel that those amendments are fair, substantive, and reasonable. The Senate does not amend legislation from this House very often. The Senate takes very seriously any amendments that it would recommend to the House. Therefore, when senators do take the time to study and bring forward amendments, we should be paying attention to what they do. We should not discount it as quickly as the minister did.

The Senate tries to help the government and this House pass good legislation. It wants to help us ensure that the laws we pass accomplish what we want done. The Senate wants to help ensure that our legislation would not cause other harm, or place an unnecessary burden on Canadians. (1315)

There are many reasons for the Senate to return a bill to the House with amendments, and it is important that we accept suggestions and recommendations from the other place and agree to consider them seriously.

The first amendment asks for a minimum consultation period of 45 days prior to the approval of an injection site anywhere in Canada. The Senate knows that not all Canadians want injection sites in their local communities, or, as the minister calls them, supervised consumption sites. Anyone looking at community injection sites would understand why. Those who have been involved understand why. To discount the amendment out of hand is disappointing. The Senate is trying to inject a measure of democracy into Bill C-37 by providing communities with a chance to further consider proposals for injection sites. We hope that the Liberals will respect that.

The Liberals talk about inclusion, but we see the opposite. They talk about partnerships with other levels of government, but we see the opposite. Why will they not listen to Canadians? They promised to do politics differently. They said that under their rule, we would all live to our full potential as Canadians, whatever that means. They also promised to consult with Canadians. Now, when the Senate is suggesting that they consult with communities as to where a safe injection site is going to be put, they do not want to hear it. The Liberals do not want to hear from those communities or from those groups that would advocate for one site being a better place than another site.

The Liberals should learn to listen to the grassroots of communities and allow them to have their say. Under Bill C-37, communities should be encouraged to make comments, to offer suggestions, to consider proposals on where an injection site should be built, or if it should be built at all. That is what being community minded is all about. The government should not be afraid of local governments, citizens, community organizations, or anyone who has a differing opinion.

The first amendment wants to allow a local community, large or small, to have at least 45 days to study and prepare before the government opens an injection site. That is fair. The Senate believes it is reasonable, diplomatic, and democratic, but the Liberals say no. Far from delaying the approval of a new injection site, a courtesy to the community is about to be changed.

The second amendment wants to establish a citizens advisory group. Much like the first amendment in some respects, the Senate is trying to help the government with Bill C-37, and after great study on the subject, it felt that this amendment would do that. The Senate is recommending that a group be formed that will help communities deal with the challenges of establishing an injection site. That would be generous and very helpful.

Many Canadians do not know much about what happens at a safe injection site or a supervised consumption site. We want them to be aware of the opioid crisis that is facing Canada and what the Liberals see as solutions. Canadians only know the images that they see on the media, which depict the horrors, for example, of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, what we used to call heroin districts and other things in the United States and Europe.

The constituents that I represent in Battle River do not want to become like the Eastside of Vancouver. In fact, I do not know of too many constituencies, rural or urban, that do. Being almost like a Bible belt in parts of Alberta, more time is probably spent praying for drug victims on those streets. They care very much. They feel badly when they see lives being ruined by the opioid crisis. (1320)

I believe the communities are there and want to help. We want to do the right thing. We want to address the crisis, even if it is in our own communities. As we can see from the statistics that the minister quoted of 900 deaths in B.C. last year and 500 in Alberta, it is in every community.

However, the Liberals are saying that we must do only what the Liberal politicians in Ottawa say we have to do, whether that is in Alberta or anywhere else, and by opposing amendment number two, the Liberals are denying Canadians the opportunity to be involved. The government does not want experts bringing their knowledge into communities and making recommendations and suggestions or amending anything. The Liberals are trying to dictate what every community in Canada must do when it comes to their supervised consumption sites. That is too bad, because wherever the opioid crisis raises its ugly head, in most communities, rural or urban, those communities would like to have some credible and knowledgeable assistance. Why do the Liberals not want that?

The government is saying that it knows what is best: one size will fit all. Imagine, as injections sites are brought into communities across Canada, that none of the lessons learned would be shared with those communities, none of the problems that have been dealt with successfully in certain communities would be available to other communities so that they would be able to benefit.

The Senate is simply trying to help the government with its bill. The Senate is trying to look out for communities, large and small, by having experts who know about the problems help communities grapple with them. That would be a good thing. We hope the government does not dig in its heels on these amendments. We hope that the minister is not just saying that we should do what she says because she knows best, but it seems that is what she is doing.

Canada has many different diverse communities. The operators of injection sites would appreciate being advised of community concerns and local health and safety issues. Not all injection sites would be able to operate the same way in every community.

There are many concerned citizens in every community in Canada. I have seen this in my own large geographical constituency. In every small town and village, there are folks who know very well how the local community operates, and we want to allow them to help. We do not want the Liberals to consider their efforts to be interference. We need everyone with knowledge and experience to work on the opioid crisis. We do not want to exclude the very people who can help us the most, the residents who know how things work in their communities. If the government proceeds with this program, every community could certainly benefit by having five to 10 volunteers within the immediate vicinity of the site at least consulted.

The third amendment that the Senate brought forward directs those working at the site to offer the person who is using this illegal drug some legal pharmaceutical therapy.

Much of the drugs that are being used are obtained illegally. In Senator White's speech in the other place, as a long-time police officer and city police chief, he talked about the day that an addict uses his drug as a day of crime, when he or she would go out and usually commit various crimes in order to raise enough funds to obtain the drug. If this plan is adopted, should we not give those people in those sites who would be using at least some counsel or therapy? Why would the government not listen to what the senators are calling for here? Is it not the most basic and simple thing to try to help those who are abusing opioids at the time they are actually going to use them? Is it not in the best interests of the addicts, and of our society, to help those individuals who are addicts to get off opioids? It sounds as though the Liberals are saying no. (1325)

The more people abuse themselves with harmful opioids, the more they will want to stop as their health declines. I have never met one who wants to keep going. They wish they could get out of the rut they are in. As their relationships with others disappear and their finances disappear, they are going to want help and they are crying for help. They will need to be rescued in order to save their lives.

They probably had a very difficult time getting drugs from some of these drug dealers. The drug abuse world is a violent, lawless world. Every time a drug abuse victim visits an injection site, we should be offering them an alternative. We should make saving that person's life a priority. Why would the Liberals not want that? It is unbelievable. It is almost as if the Liberals are trying to enable the continuing abuse of drugs by drug addicts. It is unfair. This is not the sunny ways the Prime Minister talked about. It is not helping everyone live to their full potential as Canadians, as the government said it wanted to do. What we see is mismanagement of the opioid crisis.

We should make it a criminal offence not to offer an alternative to someone who is so addicted to a drug that they need supervision when they inject that drug. Anyone in that position needs help. They may not accept the help being offered, but at least it should be offered to them. If everyone knows that the injection site is offering a way out, an alternative, then we have a better chance of saving lives.

I have heard some say that offering pharmaceutic therapy could erode the relationship between the drug abuser and the facilitator at the injection site. Really? Could offering a little counsel could lose the relationship between the two? I think the Liberals are off base on this.

The facilitator, as they call it, would be from the community. To the extent that the facilitator may not approve of the drug abuse, that facilitator would want to be ready to help if he or she is asked. I would say that is true in many parts, if not all parts, of Canadian communities, and I hope it would be true in our communities. That is the Canadian way. We are there to help. Is that not what the Prime Minister tells the world—that Canada is there to help? What part does he not get?

I see that my time is running short, so let me just say this: are there good things in Bill C-37? Not much, but we hope the Liberals will support the first amendment and include communities. We hope the Liberals realize communities need time to figure out how they will provide an injection site, and we hope the Liberals are willing to come up with something that could satisfy the third amendment.

There are other measures in Bill C-37. The bill gives the Canada Border Services Agency the authority to open international mail of any weight, should there be reasonable grounds. Perhaps this may sound like a good measure, but I think we had better be careful what we ask for here. In their hurry to find some solution, they may have eroded some of the rights of Canadians, and a lot will depend on the term “reasonable grounds”. Allowing searches of packages and shipping and so on will slow down commerce. Do we mean “reasonable grounds” that there are drugs in there? I think there are already reasonable grounds for every package, if they want to use that, but again, it may not be exactly what they want to accomplish.

If passed, Bill C-37 could add prohibitions and penalties that would apply to possession, production, sale, importation, or transport of anything intended to be used in the production of any controlled substance, including fentanyl. That is a good measure.

I brought forward a private member's bill that offered to allow the minister to allow Canadians access only to specific narcotics that have tamper-resistance or abuse-deterrent formulations. The technology is there now. This measure would only be used when a particular drug is being abused with deadly results of the kind we saw with fentanyl. Oxycontin is available now as OxyNEO, a tamper-proof pharmaceutical, but the government voted against it.

Today the minister said that this is just one measure that will fight the opioid crisis. It is funny, though, that when pharmaceutical companies and United States governments under Obama and other states started going do...”

Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Lib.)

May 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...f potential sites. While our government recognizes the benefits and supports the use of alternative pharmaceutical therapy, the decision to offer additional services to clients should be made by each ...”

Ms. Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo—Ladysmith, NDP)

May 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ack. He said:

Legislating unproven care such as required through the offering of an alternate pharmaceutical therapy on every visit may be a barrier to the unfettered use of the site and comprom...”

Mr. Luc Berthold (Mégantic—L'Érable, CPC)

May 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ople can be consulted and that users of supervised injection sites can have access to resources and pharmaceuticals to prevent the use of these drugs. In my opinion, this is crucial and it is the reas...”

Mr. Luc Berthold

May 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... site, of the consumption of controlled substances, shall offer a person using the site alternative pharmaceutical therapy before that person consumes a controlled substance that is obtained in a mann...”

Mr. Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni, NDP)

May 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...he site. We know amendment three, offering a person using a supervised consumption site alternative pharmaceutical therapy before the person consumes a controlled substance, is key. We know it is impo...”

Ms. Dianne L. Watts (South Surrey—White Rock, CPC)

May 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...atters.

The third amendment would direct those working at the site to offer users alternative pharmaceutical therapy rather than their consuming street drugs.

I was very pleased to see the...”

Mr. Sukh Dhaliwal (Surrey—Newton, Lib.)

May 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...mption sites, and the requirement that users of supervised consumption sites be offered alternative pharmaceutical therapy. (1715)

All aspects of this legislation are important, and we must act...”

Mr. Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway, NDP)

May 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ould require a person who is operating a safe injection site to offer what is called “alternative pharmaceutical therapy” to each person entering that facility before the person consumes a control...”

Mr. Ken McDonald (Avalon, Lib.)

May 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...lives.

Finally, our government seeks to amend the provision requiring an offer of alternative pharmaceutical treatment at supervised consumption sites. While we share the goal of improving acces...”

Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Lib.)

May 12th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...aff who supervise the consumption of substances at a site to offer clients access to an alternative pharmaceutical therapy before they consume illegal drugs at a supervised consumption site.

I w...”

Mr. Colin Carrie (Oshawa, CPC)

May 12th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...t of the three amendments, one that was almost unanimously supported was the amendment to allow for pharmaceutical substitution.

When addicts present at clinics asking for help, they come in with vials of poison, basically, made up in a drug dealer's basement. They are not safe. They are dangerous. This amendment would allow addicts to be offered a pharmaceutical grade option instead of forcing them to use these dangerous drugs.

Why would the minister not allow addicts, who have a treatable condition, to get quality care and have pharmaceutical grade alternatives offered each and every time they come to those clinics?”

Mr. Colin Carrie

May 12th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ll reiterate my question, because the parliamentary secretary did not answer it.

We know that pharmaceutical substitution is successful. The evidence from Switzerland is very clear that it works. Under the amendment put forward by the Senate, the addict would not have to commit a crime. The addict would not have to worry about the potential of an overdose. The public would not have to worry about being the victim of a crime. When this was done in Switzerland, we saw a dramatic reduction in illegal drugs. We saw less criminal activity and more people actually moving into treatment.

Again, if we have diabetics who need pharmaceutical grade insulin and obtain it illegally, and they go into a medical facility, what are ...”

Mr. Joël Lightbound

May 12th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...early in my speech, if the member had been paying attention. We have nothing against allowing those pharmaceutical options to be offered. The word “shall” in the amendment is what causes us a prob...”

Mr. Colin Carrie (Oshawa, CPC)

May 12th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ers. The third amendment directs those working at the site to offer the person using the site legal pharmaceutical therapy before that person consumes illegal drugs obtained illegally.

Unlike here in the House where the Liberals rammed the bill through with minimal debate, the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs was able to hold five meetings and hear from 22 witnesses. That is in contrast to the health committee, which only scheduled one meeting on the bill, with only four witnesses appearing, and none of whom was the Minister of Health.

The Senate's amendments are well thought out and take into consideration communities and those battling addiction. I must admit that I was surprised to see the minister agree to the first amendment, as her colleagues voted against the same amendment brought forward by the Conservatives. I am happy that she made the right choice in ensuring that communities at least will have some chance to be involved, if only in a small way.

I do, however, want to acknowledge my disappointment with her rejection of a voluntary community committee. The minister's refusal to include community involvement in regard to injection sites goes against the majority of testimony we heard. Over and over again, witnesses at committee stated that injection sites would not be successful without community support. Community support goes beyond harm reduction advocates. It includes mothers, fathers, law enforcement, and of course the local government. The minister knows that by passing the Senate's amendment to establish a citizen advisory committee, it would demonstrate and respect the fact that not everyone wants an injection site in his or her backyard.

I want to talk about the reasons I support a community committee. By establishing a community committee, it would ensure that the injection site remains clean, and that it operates in a way that prioritizes the health and safety of Canadians. It would ensure that the minister of health, the individual who is responsible and who ultimately approves the site, remains in the loop about the community's concerns with regard to the site. It would ensure that he or she, along with the actual operators of the site, would be held accountable and to a high standard. That should be the goal. The health and safety of those battling addiction and the health and safety of all citizens should be a priority. (1030)

That is why I was shocked that the minister's motion looks to change the wording of the Senate amendment that would improve the bill. The third amendment seeks to offer pharmaceutical therapy as a substitution to an illegally obtained and possibly deadly poison. I realize that the minister's concerns lay in the fact that these sites may range in different services such as an injection site within a hospital to mobile injection sites, but what strikes me as odd is that we would discourage the use of a legal substitution for heroin such as methadone.

For those who may not know, methadone is a maintenance treatment which, according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, CAMH, prevents opioid withdrawal and reduces or eliminates drug cravings. It is by offering substitutions that are legal and of pharmaceutical grade such as methadone that could lead a serious drug dependent individual to seek treatment and get the help he or she needs to get clean. Again, should that not be the goal?

The CAMH also states that an individual who is physically dependent on opioids such as heroin or fentanyl is kept free of withdrawal symptoms for 24 hours after a single dose of methadone. In contrast, a person who uses heroin or other short-acting opioids must use three or four times a day to avoid withdrawal. There is no argument here. By ensuring that users are offered legal substitution, crime rates will decrease and the likelihood of seeking detoxification treatment will go up.

I would like to read testimony from the Senate's hearing in which the minister was actually a witness.

I will quote Senator White:

I spent last Sunday night and Monday night in East Hastings with police officers and health officials walking up and down those streets and visiting some of the facilities. The biggest concern raised by community members who aren't addicts and by police officers and health officials is the use of illegal drugs.

I notice that we did see a regulatory change that will allow for the use of medical-grade heroin, but we did not see any regulatory changes that will allow for the medical use of other than medical-grade heroin.

My perspective and that of most people around supervised injection sites is that they move to the relationship between a doctor and an addict, not organized crime, a drug dealer and an addict who is committing crimes but an addict and the doctor which is where it is now. Will we see regulatory change that will allow for greater use of prescriptive pharmaceuticals rather than illegal and illicit poison? I don't want to call them drugs because they're not that.

At that time, the Minister of Health responded. She said:

Thank you for the question. It is a very good one. I encourage honourable senators to work with us in ensuring that access to all range of treatments and responses to this health problem are there. Some of this requires the decisions of provinces and territories as well as medical practitioners who obviously make decisions about what appropriate treatments are.

There is nothing in the bill and nothing in the law that would prevent provinces from expanding a treatment centre associated with a supervised consumption site to be able to allow these kind of treatments to which you are referring to work closely. I think it is an outstanding model and it's a model that we have to perhaps talk about a little more in public.

I know, senator, you are well aware of the work done in other countries. Switzerland is perhaps the best example of that. When people are determined to have opioids use disorder and/or have legal problems associated with their substance use disorder they are introduced to the possibility of being able to be prescribed medications. It certainly has been effective in decreasing crime rates in those areas, very dramatically decreasing overdose rates and treating this as a health issue.

That is what the minister said when she was a witness. Why the change? In Switzerland, they do in fact offer drug substitution as proposed in the Senate amendment, and as stated, it has led to a dramatic reduction of illegal drugs, has reduced crime rates, and has lowered overdose rates. This model has seen high levels of acceptance because rather than an addict illegally obtaining illegal drugs, the individual is able to get pharmacological help from a doctor with the goal of leading to seeking proper treatment. That is why this is so important.

This amendment would allow an individual to enter a site and be offered a legal drug by a medical practitioner as opposed to a dangerous and potentially deadly drug, a poison bought from a drug dealer. This, as I have stated, removes the potential of overdosing and eliminates criminal activity. If the Liberals really wanted to treat addiction as a health problem, they should be encouraging doctors and nurses to be at these sites administering alternatives that many addicts do not even know about. (1035)

We should not be encouraging irresponsible administering of illegal drugs that are manufactured and mixed in a drug dealer's basement lab. We know that they are being laced with fentanyl, carfentanil, and much more. We have an overdose crisis in this country. I will not object to the assertion that injection sites can temporarily save lives, as it is always better when an individual is revived, but we need to be looking at ways to prevent the overdose from happening in the first place.

I believe this amendment that would guarantee that the drug user is offered an alternative pharmaceutical therapy prior to putting something poisonous and potentially deadly into his or her body would do just that. That is why it is crucial that the Liberal government take initiative and ensure that injection sites do not become a place for people simply to get high. If injection sites are wanted in communities, they should be used to ensure that addicts are offered legal, safer alternatives to dangerous and illegal street drugs that have been obtained illegally from drug dealers, alternatives that would decrease overdose rates and decrease crime rates, which I believe should be the overall goal.

I realize that the minister has not flat-out rejected the amendment, but by changing the words “shall offer” to “may offer”, we would guarantee that the majority of users would not be offered a legal, safer alternative. We would not force diabetic Canadians who rely on insulin to commit a crime or numerous crimes to find an illegal insulin supply and to buy their treatment from drug dealers, would we?

Canadians expect their government, if it truly feels that addiction should be treated as a health problem, to provide safe treatment options and detoxification programs for those suffering from addiction. The Liberal plan, unfortunately, provides none of that. The response to this crisis has been horribly slow. We are still debating a bill that was tabled in December and communities are still seeing an increase in overdose deaths. Our country has seen no progress in increasing access to detox treatment, which is another issue that must be addressed but has failed to be addressed by the current Liberal government. We know that not all addicts are willing to go into treatment, which is why I believe that, with the certainty of many new injection sites opening up in the near future, we should at a bare minimum be ensuring that users have a choice between a poisonous street drug or a legal alternative.

In conclusion, this is how I view the situation. The motion put forth by the minister leaves out communities and eliminates the likelihood of reducing crime and overdose rates by offering legal substitution. The approval of an injection site will have a profound impact on any community. Perhaps some will be successful and some will not, but the individual approving the site, the minister of health, should be putting the health of Canadians first. He or she should be encouraging the use of pharmaceutical alternatives over illegally obtained street poison. He or she should be held accounta...”

Mr. Colin Carrie

May 12th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...t people into treatment, we should be ensuring the proper treatment is there. We should ensure that pharmaceutical substitutions are there and that these addicts can be properly referred to detox prog...”

Mr. Murray Rankin (Victoria, NDP)

May 12th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“....

The second amendment we have heard about from our Conservative colleagues is on alternative pharmaceutical therapy and serious constitutional doubts about it. The parliamentary secretary refer...”

Joël Lightbound (Liberal)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...llion over 10 years to support targeted actions in home care, mental health, health innovation, and pharmaceuticals. These are the four areas federal, provincial, and territorial governments agreed to in January 2016 as the priorities for investment. Budget 2017 confirmed this federal offer, which includes $11 billion over 10 years to provinces and territories to improve home care and mental health services as well as $544 million over five years to federal and pan-Canadian health organizations to support health innovation and pharmaceutical initiatives. This investment, targeting improvements in home care and mental health, ...”

Dave MacKenzie (Conservative)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ribute them across the country could see how families are torn apart by these drugs.

Diverted pharmaceuticals, fentanyl purchased from China, and stolen horse tranquillizers are finding their way onto Canadian streets with fatal consequences. Most worrying of all is the speed with which illegal opioid sales have grown and the number of overdoses. To put things into perspective, the chief coroner for British Columbia told us at the health committee that the percentage of illicit drug deaths involving fentanyl increased from 5% in 2012 to 60% in 2016. If that is not enough to wake up everybody in the House to the fact that we need to do something to get mandatory minimums in place, I do not know what will wake them up.

It is not just a crisis that affects those who find themselves living without a home, but one that affects Canadians of all ages. Fifty-five thousand Canadian high school students indicated that they had abused opioid pain relievers in the past year. That is a tremendous number.

In Ontario, one in eight deaths of individuals aged 25 to 34 years was found to be opioid-related in 2010. That number will not go down; it will simply go up. Families are being destroyed, communities are being invaded, and all Canadians are experiencing reduced access to health and social services because of the resources required to fight this epidemic. This is a public emergency that hits close to home.

Organized crime has now found a foothold in places and at levels never seen before. When the other side wants to legalize marijuana and when we see what this has done, we can only project what the future will be for organized crime. Even for those people who live in areas free of dealers and opioid users, the effects of this drug in drug crime are still felt in people's access to services.

First responders have had to divert significant resources to address this crisis. Ambulance services, firefighters, police, and hospital emergency rooms are all having resources diverted to address this crisis. This means other crimes committed against local residents are not being investigated. It means ambulances resources are increasingly overworked as they respond to a spike in drug overdoses. It means firefighters now have to additionally consider the chance that what appears to be a simple residential fire may in fact be an illicit and contaminated drug lab, a danger to both their immediate safety and their long-term health.

This says nothing about the increased burden on social services that are already stretched due to the Liberal government's lack of support to local communities. (1155)

Mental health workers are already facing an uphill battle against criminal gangs continually pushing all kinds of harmful drugs into the community. If we are to help those most in need, then we also need to fight this crisis at its source and punish those who would wish to continue it. This would bring justice not only to those caught in addiction, but to the sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, and sisters already lost to these lethal street drugs.

I recognize that the opioid crisis is multi-faceted, but Bill C-338 is one key step in cutting off the source. I support the bill because criminal enterprises are not facing harsh enough sentences for diverting legitimate pharmaceuticals to illicit street drugs. Those pushing opioids into our streets and communities need...”

Robert Oliphant (Liberal)

May 2nd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...rther research and clean air to breathe, and to close gaps in our health care system, including for pharmaceuticals. No matter where we live in this country, we should have access to the best possible...”

Frank Baylis (Liberal)

April 7th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... million people a year receive their required medications for free. They are supported by dozens of pharmaceutical companies that generously donate these medicines. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and ov...”

Rachael Harder (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...an public, and of course this has a lot to do with the crisis at hand.

Whether it is diverted pharmaceuticals, fentanyl purchased over the Internet from China, or stolen horse tranquillizers, dangerous and lethal opioids are making their way onto the streets of Canada and the consequences are fatal.

The most alarming thing is how quickly opioids are growing, both in use and in the number of overdoses. To put things in perspective, the chief coroner of British Columbia told us at the health committee that illicit drug deaths involving fentanyl increased from 5% in 2012 to 60% in 2016.

This is not just a crisis that affects those who find themselves without a home. There are 55,000 Canadian high-school students who reported in September 2016 that they had abused some sort of opioid pain reliever in the past year.

In Ontario, in 2010, one in eight deaths of individuals aged 25 to 34 was found to be opioid-related. Families are being destroyed; lives are being lost; and all Canadians are experiencing reduced access to health and social services because of the resources required to look after this crisis.

For me, this public emergency hits close to home. Lethbridge is near the epicentre of this epidemic in Canada. Last fall, five men in my riding were arrested for possessing just over 1,000 fentanyl pills destined for the streets of Lethbridge. Several subsequent arrests resulted in police recovering hundreds more fentanyl-laced pills.

What has this meant for Lethbridge? Without being alarmist, we have seen organized crime in our city increase drastically, and the users of these drugs have made parts of Lethbridge no-go zones. There is a playground in my community where children used to enjoy playing regularly, and now it is known as "needle park". This is a place where children no longer play and parents no longer feel safe, because of the needles that are left on the ground.

Even for those not in direct proximity to drug dealers or opioid users, the effects of this epidemic are still felt. In Lethbridge, our first responders have all had to divert significant resources to address this crisis. This means that other crimes committed within our community are under-investigated or not investigated at all.

It also means that EMS responders are increasingly overworked as they respond to the spike in drug overdoses. It means that firefighters have to deal with increased risks when they respond to residential fires for fear that they could be dealing with a contaminated illicit drug lab or equipment thereof.

This is to say nothing of the increased burden on our social service agencies. Lethbridge has punched far above its weight when it comes to the Syrian refugees who have come into our community. This influx of refugees has stretched our resources to the max because of the lack of support from the Liberal government.

Many of these organizations have had to punch above their weight and are now starting to reach their breaking point. This is on top of the opioid crisis and the mental health crisis that results from the jobs crisis in Alberta.

My heart goes out to the mental health workers in my community for the remarkable work they are doing around the clock and the way they are trying to divert this issue. This crisis has a human face, as sons, daughters, husbands, wives, cousins, brothers, and sisters are all lost to lethal street drugs laced with these opioids. I recognize that the opioid crisis is multi-faceted, but Bill C-307 is one key step to cutting it off at the source.

Criminal enterprises have far too easy a time diverting legitimate pharmaceuticals to illicit street drugs. This is because the most common forms of opioid-based drugs are easily manipulated. Prescription pills can be ground down to snort, or the active opioid compounds can be extracted and used as a building block for different street drugs.

Tamper-resistant forms of these pharmaceuticals can take several forms to reduce the ability to manipulate and extract the drug. The physical properties of the pill can be used to make manipulation much more difficult, such as providing a drug that cannot be altered without neutralizing the opioid compounds, or a chemical can be included that counteracts the euphoric effect of the opioid if the drug is manipulated, either by grinding or by heating it, making the drug useless to street providers. (1115)

In June 2014, our previous Conservative government provided a notice of intent to industry. We announced that new regulations were coming that would require tamper-resistant formulations of specific controlled substances such as oxycodone. The intent of the former Conservative government was to reduce the diversion of opioids for illicit purposes to keep them off the streets. Sadly, the current government chose to overturn this decision, which has now had failed consequences on Canadians from coast to coast.

One youth who I had the chance to talk to in my riding took the opportunity to brag to me that he was taking his prescription drugs and selling them for $25 a pill. His chronic pain allows him lifetime access to these pills and it now serves as his main source of income.

Diverting these drugs to the illegal markets can be stopped. If we can stop this illicit secondary market for illegal pharmaceuticals, it will decrease one of the sources that make these street drugs so accessible.

...”

Dave MacKenzie (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...e “abuse-deterrent formulations” and/or “tamper-resistant properties”. This will make these pharmaceutical substances more difficult to abuse.

Bill C-307 will make it possible for Canada's health minister to take immediate action whenever Canadians are being hurt or killed by a specific drug. We can do something, one thing, to help keep Canadians safe. We can do something when it becomes apparent that there is a deadly narcotic substance available that we no longer want available in its current form because it is dangerous and can be too easily abused. We can do something, by supporting Bill C-307. While this bill can apply to any substance under the two categories of drugs in the health legislation, this bill may in fact only be implemented on rare occasions, and yet it will help Canada's minister of health take swift action to save lives and prevent terrible suffering.

The government does have opposition to Bill C-307. In the previous hour of debate on November 17, 2016, Canadians learned of the Liberal government's initial response to Bill C-307, and we were disappointed. However, we hope that following today's second hour of debate, the Liberal government will agree to support sending this bill to committee for further study and consideration.

I want to address the reasons for opposing Bill C-307 from the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Health. I want to remind everyone that abuse-deterrent and tamper-resistant technologies across the class of opioid medications are only one tool among many others to combat prescription opioid abuse.

Crushing and snorting of these powerful narcotics is often the gateway to other forms of abuse, including pill-popping and the movement to more dangerous illicit substances, such as fentanyl, carfentanil, W-18 and U-47700, especially for young Canadians. I am hopeful that we would do everything in our power to stem this tide.

Would all drugs be required to be tamper resistant? No, this bill will not result in only tamper-resistant drugs being available in the Canadian market. This is precisely the point. The United States is leading the way and moving forward to provide Americans with many drugs in a tamper-resistant form. This movement is supported by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, the DEA, and the Trump administration. Seven medications with tamper-resistant or abuse-deterrent formulations, with more to come, are now approved in America.

The parliamentary secretary did not report much of the growing body of evidence to this House in her speech during the first hour of debate. The speech she delivered did include references to a selective literature review on the benefits and risks of abuse-deterrent formulation, tamper-resistant medications.

The recently concluded health committee hearings and the opioids conference did not hear from all stakeholders, including actual pain patients taking these abuse-deterrent formulation, tamper-resistant medications; representatives from the industrial producers of abuse-deterrent formulation, tamper-resistant medications; nor any international and independent experts in the field of abuse deterrence. There is more consultation needed by the government. In fact, the health minister's public statements often acknowledge the value of wide consultation, and it is one of the orders in her mandate letter from the Prime Minister.

The government's opposition to Bill C-307 expressed by the parliamentary secretary did not follow another instruction to the Minister of Health in her mandate letter from the Prime Minister. That directive asks the minister to provide Canadians with science and evidence-based approaches to inform public policy. There is strong scientific confirmation of tamper-resistance technology and abuse-deterrent formulations. There are no maybes or guesswork about these technologies. They work. Tamper-resistance and abuse-deterrent formulation technology is here to stay. It is sound science. It is the future.

Increasingly, powerful medications will be available in the protected forms contained in Bill C-307. Someday, all powerful medications will be released to the public in these forms. These technologies are a product of the scientific advances of the western pharmaceutical technology. Doctors want to prescribe to their patients medications that will not harm them. Doctors want to prescribe to their patients medications that patients cannot hurt themselves with, even if they try. (1135)

Patients want their doctors to prescribe them medications that will not hurt them, even if they make a mistake while trying to follow the instructions on the prescription. Everyone wants prescriptive medications that cannot be cut up, crushed, and sold as drugs to be abused.

We can do this now. The technology does exist. We can protect ourselves and others right now. Someday our society will be able to protect our population from the risks and the harmful effects of strong medications that are being abused. This technology will be widespread and used on virtually all potentially harmful medications.

Bill C-307 proposes to provide our Minister of Health with the power to name a single substance and declare it unavailable to Canadians unless and until it is in a tamper-resistant or abuse-deterrent formulation. This would save lives every time that we find a particular substance is being abused with deadly results. The health minister could invoke this tool immediately and stop the loss of lives and terrible suffering at any time.

We have seen numerous drugs, one at a time it seems, being the latest drug of choice to abuse. Some of them are producing deadly results in large numbers. With the passage of Bill C-307, we could stop any of the newest drugs from being available for abuse. We could demand that they are are only made available in a tamper-resistant or abuse-deterrent formulation.

There is a question of costs, and the concerns about the possible increase in costs for public and private payers of medications with abuse-deterrent and tamper-resistant formulations have been addressed. The introduction of these products in the United States and Canada has been shown to drive down prescription volumes for these medicines. The result is that the costs remain the same, not higher.

Again, the parliamentary secretary did not provide us with the evidence of this fact; she reported that her government continues to be concerned about costs. However, the cost issue has been addressed, with evidence. There needs to be more up-to-date research on the facts and figures concerning the deployment of medications with both abuse-deterrent and/or tamper-resistant properties.

The federal government and the provinces have every cost-containment tool at their disposal today to rein in drug costs. The highly successful pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance is a very effective alliance that operates to set the best prices for public pharmaceutical plans. In turn, the work of the alliance also affects, and sometimes dictates, the prices in private plans. This system ensures that patients are getting medicines at affordable levels.

The provinces and territories have the power of bulk buying. There are numerous examples of medications available at reasonable costs and even lower costs following negotiations between governments and producers. The pharmaceutical firms can employ scale pricing if they know they will realize specific large numbers ...”

Earl Dreeshen (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...e-deterrent formulations, ADFs, and/or tamper-resistant, TR, properties. This bill would make these pharmaceutical substances more difficult to abuse and would make it possible for Canada's health min...”

Hedy Fry (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...s are creating clusters and hubs of new innovation in health sciences. Of course, we are looking at pharmaceuticals and creating hubs for delivering that. We have Triumf in British Columbia. All these...”

Francis Drouin (Liberal)

February 23rd
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... major employers.

The industry already employs more Canadians than the forestry industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the medical device manufacturing industry. The measures taken as part o...”

Nathan Cullen (NDP)

February 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...t is why we have a five-year ban between fundraising and lobbying.

However, the chairman of a pharmaceutical giant named Apotex held a $1,500-a-person fundraiser featuring the Prime Minister himself, and is now lobbying the Liberal government.

Just so we are all clear, this is totally illegal. Do the Liberals actually think it is appropriate to have lobbying meetings with a pharmaceutical giant that has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Liberal Party, yes or no?<...”

Nathan Cullen (NDP)

February 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...Mr. Speaker, Canadians are seeing a very disturbing pattern here with the Liberals.

A giant pharmaceutical company or a billionaire with his own island, the Prime Minister is at their beck and...”

Jonathan Wilkinson (Liberal)

February 23rd
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...an 800 clean technology companies. It is an industry that employs more Canadians than the forestry, pharmaceutical, or medical device manufacturing industries.

The sector grew three times as fas...”

Francis Drouin (Liberal)

February 21st
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“... the objectives in the proposed bill we have seen. Essentially, we need to find a better way to get pharmaceutical research to market to ensure that patients can benefit from it. However, the no liabi...”

Elizabeth May (Green Party)

February 14th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...entionally. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, is one of particular concern. While it has legal pharmaceutical use for severe pain relief, it can be misused for its heroin-like effects. Fentanyl i...”

Hedy Fry (Liberal)

February 14th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ich had also been done under the Chrétien government, to show whether or not the use of substitute pharmaceutical grade heroin was important to save lives. It was shown that allowing hydromorphone, which is being used in the heroin assisted treatment in Europe and Scandinavia with a great deal of success, is saving lives and helping people to manage their addiction so they do not have to buy off the street anymore. They can go to the clinic and get a pharmaceutical drug, which costs pennies, to be able to save their lives and move them off the stree...”

John Aldag (Liberal)

February 14th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...y overdoses have come as a result of ingesting drugs that appear identical to legitimately produced pharmaceuticals. These drugs are made without adequate controls and often contain unpredictable amounts of high potency and potentially lethal substances, such as fentanyl and carfentanil.

Essential to making these illegal drugs are pill presses and encapsulator devices that allow illegal producers to turn out thousands of counterfeit pills or capsules in a very short time. This presents a significant risk to public health and safety.

That being said, pill presses and encapsulators are also used in legitimate manufacturing processes in the pharmaceutical, food, and consumer product industries. This is why a registration system is being pr...”

Sheila Malcolmson (NDP)

February 14th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... are sky-high in Canada versus other countries. Our doctors over-prescribe, and that is because the pharmaceutical companies oversell.

Chronic pain is not managed well in our country. Some peopl...”

Rachel Blaney (NDP)

February 13th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...hat with the provisions in CETA, consequently the bill would change intellectual property rules for pharmaceuticals. Under this agreement, consumers, including our seniors on fixed incomes, could expect to have their drug costs increase by more than $850 million annually.

In the town halls, a lot of constituents came up afterward and shared stories with me. They also shared stories during the town halls. I remember one woman who told me that she and her husband were in good health right now. They were recent retirees and life felt pretty good. However, when they looked at the future, they realized they had to plan for when they would not be as healthy. Unfortunately, part of their plan included the time when they would have to legally separate, and would have to deal with the fact that the cost of living would become so high due to medication costs and having to put somebody in a care facility. The woman told me that she had worked hard her whole life, but with the increasing cost of pharmaceuticals and cost of living, she did not know how they would make it, even though they saved, they had well-paying jobs, and they had a good pension. The reality for seniors today is one that is leading to more and more poverty.

While in opposition, the Liberals demanded that the Conservatives present a study on the financial impacts on provincial and territorial health care systems and prescription drug costs. In government now, the Liberals are telling provinces and territories that they will cut health care transfers, while pursuing agreements that risk increasing drug costs for provinces and territories. I am very concerned about this.

The reality on the ground is that people will have serious health issues. More and more people will have to go to emergency rooms because they have not taken their medications. I remember one doctor sharing with me that seniors were unable to afford medications so they were going to the emergency rooms every day to get refills. Think of the expense. If the costs go up, the implications will be devastating on our health care system.

I was glad that our great trade critic, the member for Essex, brought up this important issue in the committee. The NDP brought forward amendments to make certain that an analysis of the impact of CETA on pharmaceutical drug costs would get done. What happened? This is an important issue, and our constituents and Canadians deserve to know. There will be little to no debate on our amendments. They were all rejected, showing no interest in fixing the the flaws of the deal or addressing the serious concerns of Canadians. (1310)

Jim Keon, the president of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, at committee said:

From a cost perspective, as I've said, generics...”

Rachel Blaney (NDP)

February 13th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...h should make us all think about it seriously, such as making sure that there is an opportunity for pharmaceuticals to be less expensive, and making sure that we are looking at the investor-state prov...”

Alistair MacGregor (NDP)

February 13th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...lly in her new role as the NDP critic for seniors and really underlining the effects that increased pharmaceutical costs will have on our low-income seniors.

My question concerns Canada's dairy ...”

Alexandre Boulerice (NDP)

February 13th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...eet. It has to be said: the Liberal government does not care that this agreement will benefit large pharmaceutical companies to the detriment of seniors, the sick, and people with disabilities.

...”

Frank Baylis (Liberal)

February 13th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague about extended pharmaceutical patent protection.

He mentioned extensions of three or three and a half years. ...”

Kelly McCauley (Conservative)

February 13th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ervices, wood pulp, inorganic chemicals, meat, animal feed, grains, seed, fruit, plastic, vehicles, pharmaceuticals, beverages, iron and steel products, and animal products.

For our consumers, n...”

Alistair MacGregor (NDP)

February 13th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... the member's speech, he was raising some of the concerns that we in the NDP have about the cost of pharmaceutical drugs. I should explain to him why we have that position. The increased patent protections granted to brand name pharmaceuticals are going to go way beyond Canada's existing obligations. We have evidence of this from the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association. It conducted a study and showed that, if adopted, the proposals would delay the introduction of new generic medicines in Canada by an average of three and a half years. The cost of this delay to pharmaceutical payers was estimated at $2.8 billion annually, based on generic prices in 2010.

Therefore, my question for the member is this. If he disagrees with that particular statement, and may I remind him, this is coming from the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, which knows its stuff, can he offer evidence to the contrary?”

Alistair MacGregor (NDP)

February 13th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...hat this could allow foreign companies to do.

The other thing we in the NDP have gone over is pharmaceutical costs. I used to serve as the New Democratic Party critic and spokesperson for seniors. I have handed that off to the member for North Island—Powell River, and she is doing a great job. We have testimony from the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, an association that is an expert on this subject. It had a study prepared for it that showed that the proposals in this agreement would delay the introduction of new generic medicines in Canada by an average of three and a half years. The cost to pharmaceutical payers for this delay was estimated to be $2.8 billion annually, based on generic prices in 2010.

I have been helping seniors in my riding for many years. Before I was a member of Parliament, I worked as a constituency assistant. I saw first-hand how seniors are struggling with the cost of living. Many of them, when it comes to the high cost of pharmaceutical drugs, either do not take their dosage or take less than what is recommended by a doctor. This can lead to cascading health effects down the line. Why in the world would we institute a system that would increase the cost of pharmaceuticals, when all the talk in Parliament these days, and a lot of pressure, is on how we can institute a national pharmacare system to bring these costs down? It seems to be at odds.

We know from our conversations with small businesses, the small businesses in my riding, that they want more consistency. We know they want fewer regulations and they want standards that are simple to comply with: simple border processes, less paperwork, and lower costs. If we had a trade deal that was actually just about trade, the free movement of goods, and making sure tariffs were being lowered, we could deal with that. However, this implementing legislation contains a laundry list of acts of Parliament and regulations that are going to have to be changed. It is a 140-page bill, and it goes way beyond trade.

We believe that greater access to European markets is great for Canadian goods, but just as with the TPP, CETA is a massive trade and investment deal that makes significant changes on investor rights, intellectual property, pharmaceutical drugs, and more. I believe that Canada must maintain its sovereignty over the ability...”

Alistair MacGregor (NDP)

February 13th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...hat we throw that opportunity away. I would like to know how those key components, like the cost of pharmaceuticals to our seniors, matches with his government's plan of a national pharmacare plan. Ho...”

Erin Weir (NDP)

February 10th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...n-trade aspects of the Canada-Europe deal. The Canada-Europe agreement would extend the duration of pharmaceutical patents, which would drive up the price of prescription drugs for provincial health c...”

Richard Cannings (NDP)

February 10th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ean Union, which has the investor-state provisions just mentioned and which would raise the cost of pharmaceutical products in Canada. These are things that would not benefit Canadians in general.

...”

Tracey Ramsey (NDP)

February 8th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“.... Unfortunately, I did not hear the minister bring up the very real issue in CETA about the cost of pharmaceutical drugs. Twenty-five percent of the implementing legislation in CETA are changes to the Patent Act that will extend the cost of pharmaceutical drugs for all Canadians.

I certainly heard the minister speak passionately about average people, average Canadians in our country feeling left out of trade deals, and it is largely because the governments of the day refuse to address the real issues and how they will impact Canadians in their everyday lives. I would like to speak to the minister about that and say that Canadians have very serious concerns about the cost of pharmaceutical drugs in CETA due to the patent changes that I mentioned.

Mr. Verheul, the lead...”

Tom Kmiec (Conservative)

February 8th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...Through free trade, we will find opportunities to obtain the goods we want, including medicine and pharmaceuticals. It is an opportunity.

We should not only see the barriers. That is all I hear...”

Tracey Ramsey (NDP)

February 8th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...foreign companies to challenge our domestic environmental laws, and IP rules that favour name brand pharmaceutical companies that would drive up the cost of medication for Canadians.

These are t...”

Tracey Ramsey (NDP)

February 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ng sectors in this agreement, which is rare.

In CETA, Canada made some big concessions around pharmaceutical, intellectual property rights, and around dairy and our maritime industry. These conc...”

Tracey Ramsey (NDP)

February 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ion.

On the member's question with respect to CETA, when we talk about increasing the cost of pharmaceutical drugs for every Canadian, it is a serious matter. I am sure people in all of our ridings come into our offices every day, telling us they cannot afford medication. Whether they have a plan through their workplace or not, or they are supported in some way by the province, to increase the patent, to extend that two years, that did not happen in the Ukraine deal. The Ukraine deal does not address that. Therefore, 25% of the implementing legislation around CETA is with respect to changes to the intellectual property pharmaceuticals, which is of grave concern, and should be for every member in the House.

It is...”

Francis Scarpaleggia (Liberal)

February 7th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...agriculture and aquaculture in obvious industries that would use water, but also to industries like pharmaceuticals and computers. Just ask someone from the computer industry how much water it takes t...”

Erin Weir (NDP)

February 6th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ely to make it easier for temporary foreign workers to come into our country. It is going to extend pharmaceutical patents, driving up the cost of prescription drugs for our provincial health care systems as well as for individual Canadians. It will expose our democratic laws, regulations, and public policies to more challenges under the investor-state provisions.

I do not want to repeat all of those points. What I would like to do in today's speech is look at CETA from a different perspective. I want to look at it from the perspective of its implications for future Canadian negotiations. In particular, I want to look at our likely negotiations with a post-Brexit United Kingdom. I want to look at our potential renegotiation of NAFTA with the United States. Finally, I want to look at the negotiations we have, within our country, with corporate Canada.

In terms of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, a big question is what that means for CETA. It is a question the NDP has been asking throughout this debate, because of course, the United Kingdom is the one major economy in the EU with which Canada currently enjoys a trade surplus.

I was interested to note on Friday that a Conservative colleague, the member for Sarnia—Lambton, actually asked that question during question period and did not get much of a response from the government. What the parliamentary secretary to the minister of international trade said was:

If CETA is passed by the EU, we will have a deal with the U.K. until things unfold in that country. Canada, of course, has an interest in maintaining access to the significant U.K. marketplace, and we believe very strongly that CETA provides an excellent baseline for future negotiations.

Here we have the government actually acknowledging that CETA is not a done deal, that it is unclear whether or how it might apply to the United Kingdom, and that in all likelihood, Canada would have to enter into new negotiations with the U.K. after the Brexit process plays out. Why, then, would we want to establish that baseline now? Will this be a baseline from which we make further concessions in negotiations with the United Kingdom?

It seems to me that after Brexit, the United Kingdom will actually be under pressure to formulate new trade agreements. It will no longer be part of free trade deals through the EU, and the British will be the ones who really need to make concessions to get trade deals. Why would Canada set the baseline now? Would it not be more prudent to see what happens with Brexit and then negotiate with Britain from a position of strength? Agreeing to CETA before Brexit has played out actually puts Canada in a much weaker position for prospective negotiations with the United Kingdom.

The second thing I want to consider is negotiations with the United States about the North American Free Trade Agreement. It is really important to recognize that under NAFTA currently, there is a concept of most favoured nation treatment, so when we make concessions to Europe through CETA, we are automatically making those same concessions to the United States. Indeed, in Bill C-30, we find that it does exactly that. It provides concessions not just to the EU but to all trade agreement investors. For example, when CETA extends patent protections, it does not just do it for European pharmaceutical companies; it does it for American pharmaceutical companies as well. Of course, we do not get anything in exchange from the United Stat...”

Nathan Cullen (NDP)

February 6th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...cted, yet there were very specific issues raised both by the dairy industry, with research, and the pharmaceutical industry, with research, to show that this is what the CETA with Europe will imply. Take away the fact that the deal was constructed with the United Kingdom as part of it, and it has withdrawn, and the government has not altered course a moment. Two pretty important industries to Canadians, those of the milk supply, the dairy manufacturers, as well as the generic pharmaceutical industry, have come forward to government, testified at committee, and said that thes...”

Nathan Cullen (NDP)

February 6th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... need to see in the trade deals, and that is protection of Canadian interests. We see in this, from pharmaceuticals to milk marketing and all of the rest, a further degrading of the ability of Canadia...”

Charlie Angus (NDP)

February 6th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ld not.

The investor-state provisions maintain those on the fact that we are giving up on the pharmaceuticals. That is supposed to help us so we can sell mukluks. It will cost us. Up to $2.8 billion a year will be downloaded to individual consumers on the cost of pharmaceuticals. That is all-important because it is for the ideology of trade.

The attack on the dairy sector is a crucial issue because we are talking about family farms. We are talking about regional farming economies that have a proven pattern of success that are giving up market share. (1700)

At least the Harper government was willing to compensate for the impacts because it knew those impacts would be great. However, what we get from the present government instead of actual money on the table is the Bobby McFerrin school of economics, which says, “Don't worry. Be happy. We have a prime minister who will do push-ups for you in Brooklyn and your farm sector will somehow compete.” We know that is not true.

The Liberals are more than willing to sacrifice individual jobs. We see zero words from the Prime Minister over the Chinese steel dumping that shut down Sault Ste. Marie and is crushing Hamilton.

Why are they not speaking up? Because, in the interest of trade with China, it is okay that it destroys our steel sector.

The Prime Minister, after holding his private billion-dollar fundraisers with Chinese billionaires, decided to open up for review a project about allowing the Chinese government to buy a Canadian tech company that even the Harper government opposed. Why would we sell out our tech sector? It is for the greater vision of trade. It will benefit us all.

We see that as soon as Donald Trump came into power, he started talking about opening up NAFTA. He had not even noticed Canada existed. The Prime Minister said, “Brilliant. We'll come to the negotiating table and reopen the negotiations with you.”

If we are going to negotiate a deal, we do not hold up our ace cards and show where they are in our hand; but, no, they have already started to talk about bringing in Brian Mulroney to give the Prime Minister advice. God help us. What does Brian Mulroney say? Brian Mulroney says, “Hey, we've got to get rid of supply management.”

If we are not going to send a message that this is going to be on the table, who are they representing? They are not representing us.

We are going to have the Prime Minister bring Brian Mulroney in, and he is already posting bubbles about what we are going to give up.

When it comes to international trade, the Prime Minister is like a rube at a country fair. He thinks he knows where those dollars are going to land in the little shells, but he is setting us up for failure.

We have seen him say nothing about softwood. We have lost so many forestry jobs because of softwood. We have seen him say nothing about the fact that if the United States is going to stand up for its interests, we have to stand up for ours. Yet the Prime Minister has already opened the door to putting these on the table.

Why is that? It is because his notion of economics that he studied at school is that as long as we keep allowing trade to move back and forth, we will all benefit. However, we are seeing now where 60% in urban areas are in short-term contracts.

Where is this middle class the Liberals keep talking about? We hear them all the time, and it is very insidious language they use. They talk about the middle class and those wanting to join it as though they are offering a long-term vision of development when they are not, because they continually favour those at the top of the food chain.

What do I mean by that? Look at their tax break for the middle class and working people. If people make $23 an hour or less, they get zero; but if they make 50 or 100 bucks an hour, they get full bang. I guess the Prime Minister grew up in a different middle class than I did. Most of the middle-class people I know, who are just trying to get into the middle class and 23 bucks an hour, could use a break, rather than the ministers of cabinet and bankers.

This is the false ideology of their economics. Yet they have the nerve and the gall to say they are doing it to sell blueberries, that they are here for the mukluks, that they are there for the little Joe on the street, with his mom-and-pop corner operation, that is why we are signing these international agreements, and that is false.

If we are going to talk trade, then let us talk about trade that is in Canada's interest, about ensuring that our pharmaceutical costs are not going to go through the roof to sell that out, about investor-state pro...”

Cheryl Hardcastle (NDP)

February 6th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...We also called for an economic impact analysis of CETA and an analysis of the impact of CETA on pharmaceutical drug costs. Sadly, in what has become a recurring pattern with the government, there was little to no debate on our amendments and, as I noted, they were all rejected. It appears that the government's election platform commitments to fair, open, and transparent government have gone the way of electoral reform.

As the government prepares to renegotiate sections of NAFTA with the new administration in the U.S., it is important that it does not rush into another deal before we have been able to study the changes that will soon occur to our agreement with our American cousins, as it is arguably one of the more important trade agreements to which Canada has been a party.

More important, I and all New Democrats continue to be seriously concerned about the ways in which these agreements hamstring the ability of future governments to establish important social programs. The hamstringing to which I refer is what American pundit, Thomas Friedman, once termed, a couple of decades back, as the “golden straitjacket”. It is very entertaining to me that a previous speaker, an hon. colleague from another party, mentioned the gold-plated agreement. I want to talk about the golden straitjacket with some irony here.

The golden straitjacket is supposed to work like this. As our country puts on the Golden Straitjacket, two things are supposed happen: our economy grows and our politics shrink. It is a straitjacket because it narrows considerably the parameters of the government's future political and economic policy options. It is golden, presumably, due to the economic benefits which would then follow.

However, flash forward a couple of decades and we see clearly that these supposed benefits were a little more than oversold. In fact, to say that the benefits of NAFTA were unevenly distributed is to engage in cruel understatement. Some sectors of the economy benefited, and others were devastated.

Members could ask anyone in my riding of Windsor—Tecumseh, the people of Hamilton or Oshawa, Ontario. We have absolutely no evidence that the economic gains of CETA will be distributed any more equitably than were those of NAFTA. In fact, CETA is likely to make it all the more difficult for future governments to address the very inequalities that we can feel certain will result from this agreement.

CETA will increase the pressures to privatize most government services. That is because the multinational corporate and financial interests, in whose interests this agreement was negotiated, view most government services not as fundamental provisions without which our lives and economy would suffer, but as potential revenue streams, as potential markets in which to make lots of money. (1730)

CETA can be rightly construed as part of what was an aggressive wave of trade deals designed to undermine the rights of Canadian governments to legislate public health policy if it threatened investor profit. Under these conditions, the likelihood of a national pharmacare plan becomes substantially more difficult, if not impossible. Such a plan could be viewed as a direct infringement on corporate rights and counterintuitive to the purpose of health care policies that put people first.

In keeping with putting people first and to maximize our resources in our universal health care system, a national pharmacare program has long been the priority of the NDP. Just about everyone who has ever seriously looked at this issue will know that there is broad agreement among researchers that a universal public drug program, with an evidence-based list of reimbursed drugs, a clear and transparent budget, and a strong ability to negotiate fair drug prices, would improve the health of Canadians. It would significantly lower the social cost of drugs and could be achieved with relatively small initial outlays by governments.

It is an idea that is a long time coming. A prescription drug coverage program was recommended as the next step way back in 1964 by the Royal Commission on Health Services. Canada has the fastest-rising drug costs per capita among OECD countries and is the only country in the world with a public medicare system that does not have a pharmacare program.

It is estimated that changes to patent protection for pharmaceutical drugs as a result of trade agreements could cost our public health care system anywhere between $850 million to $1.65 billion every year, according to the Council of Canadians. At approximately $900 a person, Canadian drug costs are already the second highest in the OECD, second only to the United States. Countries like Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, and Sweden have all had some form of universal public drug coverage that results in lower costs, as well as lower drug cost growth rates. Consumption of drugs in these countries is equal or greater than in Canada, but expenditure is much lower.

Countries with pharmacare programs are able to suppress the inflation of drug prices, which directly result in people paying less for their medications. A true universal pharmacare program shows feasibility, sustainability, and effectiveness. Universal pharmacare programs in other countries currently are more advantageous in terms of costs than both private or public drug insurance plans in Canada.

Our current fragmented system means higher drug costs for everyone and huge profits for big pharma. Canada has a total of 19 publicly funded drug plans, 10 provincial, three territorial, and six federal. Eligibility, coverage, and benefit payment schemes vary in each of these programs. Again, the Council of Canadians makes the excellent point that one's postal code or socio-economic status should not dictate if one receives necessary medication, but in some provinces only people on social assistance, seniors, or those suffering from certain diseases are covered, while in other provinces people are covered based on an income assessment.

It is long past time for federal leadership on this issue. The proponents of a national pharmacare plan have won every argument. By every rational criteria, it is the smart thing to do.

Therefore, why does Canada not have a national pharmacare plan? I suspect that on this issue, like so many others, the Liberals will not venture such a thing without total buy-in from industry. Let us be as clear as we can on this. The pharmaceutical industry will never support a national pharmacare plan.

In fact, the industry is moving in the other direction. The pharmaceutical industry lobbied heavily for changes to intellectual property rules for pharmaceuticals under CETA and, as we can guess, got them. These changes are expected to increase dr...”

Elizabeth May (Green Party)

February 6th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ny in Canada and in the European Union.

One is that this trade agreement will absolutely make pharmaceutical drugs cost more in Canada. There is no question about this. By giving greater patent protection, it will postpone the moment when drugs go to generic form, when they become much more affordable. The estimates are that it will increase the cost of pharmaceutical drugs anywhere between $800 million and $1.6 billion.

Let me give the reasons why. This is what the comprehensive economic and trade agreement commits to and that Bill C-30 would implement. It would commit Canada to creating a new system of patent term restoration that would delay the entry of generic medicines by up to two years. It would lock in Canada's current terms of data protection, making it difficult or impossible for future governments to reverse them, and it would implement a new right of appeal under the patent linkage system that would create further delays for the entry of generics.

If this trade agreement is in the interest of big pharma, the pharmaceutical industry, which I would have to mention is an economic sector that does not need a handout, can we accept that the prescription drug business, the pharmaceutical industry globally, does very well for itself and does not necessarily do well for those who need life-saving drugs?

This relates to the debates we have had in this place about the need for pharmacare and a national pharmacare program. It is even in the mandate letter to our Minister of Health to pursue bulk purchasing of prescription drugs to try to bring down the price to the level we could get if we had a national pharmacare plan, when all prescription medication could be purchased centrally to try to drive down the cost.

The reality is that the single largest growing cost within our health care system is the cost of prescription drugs. I want to reference the hard work of my hon. colleague from Oakville, Terrence Young, who lost his seat in the last election. His daughter died from taking a drug, as prescribed by her physician. Her name was Vanessa, and in the last Parliament, we passed Vanessa's Law.

It is very clear that the drug industry charges more than what it costs to produce a drug, because it can. This is the last sector on Earth we should be wanting to give yet more advantages to to make the price of drugs go higher.

At the same time, litigation relating to pharmaceuticals, the notice of compliance proceedings dealing with full patent infringement, has been termed by Canadian Lawyer magazine as streamlining litigation, again, to the benefit of the pharmaceutical industry. It has a very effective lobby. Hats off to the pharmaceutical industry in Europe and in Canada for getting its own way under this agreement, but th...”

Ziad Aboultaif (Conservative)

February 6th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member spoke about the impact on the pharmaceutical industry, the cost of drugs, or the investor-state provision. This is on the negative...”

Tracey Ramsey (NDP)

February 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ding significant reforms to Canadian intellectual property rules related to generic and non-generic pharmaceutical drugs.

Deals like CETA are part of a new generation of trade deals, such as the trans-Pacific partnership, which include many controversial aspects that have more to do with investors' interests than the public's interest.

There is growing concern around the world, where people are questioning if these massive trade and investment deals are in the public's best interests. The Minister of Foreign Affairs claims that swift passage of CETA is necessary to send a message that Canada still supports these deals in the face of mounting public opposition to trade agreements. However, passing this legislation with little study of its impacts on the lives of everyday Canadians is the opposite of how we as legislators should be proceeding.

Much has changed in the world since CETA was signed. We are having many conversations about the trade agenda of the newly elected U.S. president and what it means to have fair trade or free trade.

I would like to read a quote from Angella MacEwen, senior economist at the Canadian Labour Congress, who testified before our trade committee:

There are market failures, distributional impacts, and very real concerns that workers have, because trade deals can increase inequality if you don't take proper action to make sure they don't. The answer isn't in rushing more trade deals through. The answer is in taking a minute to examine those very real concerns that people have and those very real negative impacts to see how you can mitigate them.

I agree that the proper response is not rushing more trade deals through. This is why I pushed at committee for more meetings, more study, and more input from Canadians on CETA.

I proposed various amendments at committee and I was pleased to see the Liberals agreed there need to be some changes to the bill's intellectual property rights. We agreed on several amendments to these provisions in the bill.

I also proposed amendments to limit CETA's controversial investment chapter. There is no reason Bill C-30 should have contained these provisions. European states, namely Belgium, have made it clear that investor-state provisions must be removed before it is willing to ratify CETA, yet the Liberals are asking parliamentarians to sign off on CETA as it stands, including these investor-state provisions. If these provisions will not be provisionally applied and will be rejected for ratification in Europe, why would Parliament sign off on them?

In the event that an investor court system is established as Bill C-30 proposes to do, there is an issue with how tribunal panellists will be selected. As pointed out by Gus Van Harten, these panellists will hold incredible power yet their appointments will be unilaterally selected solely by the Minister of International Trade. I proposed an amendment at committee that this process be opened up and I was disappointed to see that government MPs had no interest in debating my proposal.

I also proposed an amendment to remove the increased threshold for mandatory foreign takeover reviews. CETA includes a clause that would raise this threshold from $600 million to $1.5 billion, meaning foreign takeovers of Canadian companies under $1.5 billion would not be subject to review of whether such a takeover would be in our national interest. (1020)

I would also like to discuss the issue of how CETA impacts maritime jobs. CETA will, for the first time, legally allow foreign-owned vessels and foreign crews to transport goods between Canadian ports and will open up domestic dredging contracts to foreign suppliers. This will lead to the estimated loss of 3,000 Canadian seafarers' jobs. These are high quality, well-paying jobs. This industry as a whole supports 250,000 direct and indirect jobs.

I received a phone call in my office over the holiday period from a woman who was distraught over the impact on maritime workers. She was also distraught that her Liberal MP would not respond to her request to understand the situation he was putting their community in. These communities rely on these good-paying jobs, and this has simply been ignored.

I was shocked that the Liberals did not even say a word at committee during the debate around this motion. There was not one word. That is incredibly disappointing for parliamentarians who are committed not only to represent the people in their own riding but across the country, when they sit on such an important committee as the international trade committee.

We also know that CETA will allow foreign boats to bring in foreign workers, with no requirement for a labour market impact assessment. These workers can be paid as little as $2 an hour, and suffer from low safety standards and poor working conditions. Over the holiday period, there was a ship on the west coast that came in with workers who had not been paid and workers who had been on the ship a year beyond their contract and could not be released to go back home. These workers are being mistreated, and only when they reach Canadian ports and someone discovers this is happening are Canadians able to intervene on their behalf. This is an issue of human rights in our own waters.

I would also like to point out that by permitting more foreign flag vessels CETA encourages tax avoidance, since foreign ships registered in flags of convenience countries, such as Malta or Cypress, take advantage of tax havens and the cheapest labour available.

Today, at report stage, on behalf of the New Democratic Party of Canada, I am proposing amendments to delete clauses of Bill C-30 that would implement parts of CETA's investment chapter, implement changes to the pharmaceutical intellectual property rights, implement a host of new geographical indicators, raise the threshold for foreign reviews, and change the rules for coasting trade.

I want to go back to the geographical indicators for a moment, because the European Union was quite clear. It requested over 170 carve-outs for geographical indicators. Some in the House may be asking what these exactly are. These are things like cheese designation for Asiago cheese, or feta cheese. It is things like champagne or Darjeeling tea. These are things that Canadian producers will no longer be able to label with those names because they will own those geographical indicators in Europe. If Canadian suppliers or producers attempt to put the name on them, they will be in violation of CETA.

The interesting part about this is Canada received zero geographical indicators. Think about Nanaimo bars, Saskatoon berries, maple syrup, or Montreal smoked meat. None of these things are protected. That means European companies can continue to label their products in this way. This is a huge loss to all of these growth industries.

I look forward to further debating these amendments today, and I ask fellow parliamentarians to take a serious look at these proposed changes before the House moves on to the third reading of Bill C-30. There are many unanswered questions and outstanding concerns regarding CETA. As parliamentarians, we cannot simply turn a blind eye to the very real concerns that exist in this trade deal.

It is disheartening to me that the Liberals refuse to address the increase in the cost of pharmaceutical drugs that will impact every person in their riding, I believe it is a disservice to ...”

Tracey Ramsey (NDP)

February 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...cost of drugs. Everyone who sits in this House, everyone, will be impacted by the increased cost of pharmaceuticals that we are signing on to in CETA. Twenty-five per cent of this legislation has changes to the Patent Act for pharmaceutical drugs.

Then we move to the member's end of the country, on the west coast. I be...”

Pam Goldsmith-Jones (Liberal)

February 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...rhaps somewhat alarming to suggest that drug costs will go up. Europe has lower costs right now for pharmaceuticals than Canada. As we have heard the Minister of Health say many times, she is working diligently on improving the cost of pharmaceuticals to Canadians.”

Robert Kitchen (Conservative)

February 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...at the Liberal government will honour the commitments it has made.

As we look at the issue of pharmaceuticals, we recognize the patent agreement will stay the same when it comes to Canada and ho...”

Karen Ludwig (Liberal)

February 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...n CETA that the phase-in would take place over the course of 10 years.

Looking at the cost of pharmaceutical drugs, if there is no clear measurement on that, then we as Canadians should always b...”

Gord Johns (NDP)

February 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...cing challenges in access to health care.

With the changes to intellectual property rules for pharmaceuticals under CETA, drug costs are expected to increase by over $850 million annually. The C...”

Dan Albas (Conservative)

February 2nd
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... pocketbooks. After that, let us expedite the health minister's idea to focus on the bulk buying of pharmaceuticals. Actually, that was originally an idea of the former health minister, who is now the...”

Don Davies (NDP)

January 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...aloxone available in a non-prescription status. They reversed the federal prohibition on the use of pharmaceutical heroin for treatment. They scheduled fentanyl precursors. They reinstated harm reduct...”

Randy Boissonnault (Liberal)

January 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... encapsulator devices.

Pill presses and encapsulators can be used legitimately to manufacture pharmaceuticals, food and consumer products as well. However, they may also be used to make illegal counterfeit drugs that look like legitimate pharmaceuticals. These counterfeit pills can contain dangerous substances such as fentanyl and W-18....”

Dan Ruimy (Liberal)

January 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... penalty and may not always be appropriate or in the public interest. For example, revocation of a pharmaceutical company's licence could result in a shortage of critical drugs used in medical care.<...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

January 31st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... that budget to help Canadians invest in their future, to lower the costs of the everyday goods and pharmaceuticals they need. We are focused on how we can help Canadians succeed and thrive in the com...”

John Oliver (Liberal)

January 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ughts are with her today. We must always ensure that their needs are addressed and that appropriate pharmaceutical care remains available to them.

I want the residents of my riding of Oakville t...”


The Senate

Hon. Jane Cordy

June 21st
Hansard Link

Health Physician-Pharmaceutical Company Relationships

“...dia yesterday that an audit has shown that doctors in Canada are receiving millions of dollars from pharmaceutical companies. In the United States there's a sunshine law, so it's revealed openly what doctors are being given by big pharma.

It's my belief that patients should be aware of whether or not their doctor has received a golf trip or is being paid by a pharmaceutical company or is being taken out to dinners at very expensive restaurants so that they c...”

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate)

May 17th
Hansard Link

Controlled Drugs and Substances Bill Bill to Amend—Message from Commons—Amendment from Commons Concurred In

“...opted by the Senate would have required supervised consumption sites to offer an alternative, legal pharmaceutical therapy to clients before they consume illegal drugs at the site.

The Government has chosen to alter this language, while retaining a portion of the amended version. Instead of saying that:

. . . a person who is responsible for the direct supervision, at a supervised consumption site, of the consumption of controlled substances shall offer a person using the site alternative pharmaceutical therapy . . .

The Government has changed the words "shall" to "may."

I want to thank Senator White for bringing forward this amendment, and for his tireless work on this issue, including his contributions to banning fentanyl precursors, and in collaboration with Senator Sinclair, his insightful amendments to Bill C-224, the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, which is now law.

I want to make it clear that the Government of Canada fully supports access to legal treatment options for people who are living with addictions.

As Minister Philpott told this Chamber on March 1 during Question Period:

I would say that there would be nothing stopping people in those jurisdictions from making sure that these sites are not just supervised consumption sites, but that they are places where, when people are ready to be introduced to treatment, when they need to have their social issues addressed, when they need medication assisted therapy to help them stay alive and prevent them from going out into the streets to find ways, including criminal activities, to support their dependence on substances, they are given clean substances in a safe facility under the direction of health-care providers. This will save lives and it is how we've seen internationally that other jurisdictions have responded to a similar crisis.

So this amendment — as modified in the other place — is an important statement to other jurisdictions emphasizing that their authority to provide legal, pharmaceutical therapies at supervised consumption sites is being endorsed by this Parliament.

..”

Hon. Paul E. McIntyre

May 17th
Hansard Link

Controlled Drugs and Substances Bill Bill to Amend—Message from Commons—Amendment from Commons Concurred In

“...have enabled people using drugs such as fentanyl or carfentanil to be given the option of receiving pharmaceutical treatment instead of injecting poison into their bodies. By replacing the word "shall" with the word "may," the minister effectively closed the door to a more modern approach.

In addition, this modern approach was discussed at the Sommet francophone sur la réduction des méfaits liés aux drogues, which was held a few days ago in Montreal. Experts discussed the option consisting of prescribing drugs to help with the process of detoxification. In short, experts suggest prescribing transition drugs.

Under Senator White's amendment, a person with an addiction would have been offered a pharmaceutical replacement by a medical practitioner, not a drug dealer. That addicted person would ...”

Hon. Vernon White

May 4th
Hansard Link

Controlled Drugs and Substances Bill Bill to Amend—Third Reading

“...he primary purposes of the facility is to try and save the life of the individual who uses this non-pharmaceutical ingredient, and hopefully try and move them through their addiction process. That is the way the facility works, and I understand the importance of those facilities for saving lives.

So we're clear, an addict buys illegal, illicit substances. I try not to call them "drugs," as they are typically not a pharmacological substance but rather a basement-made poison developed by a crime group for the sole purpose of making money off addicts, which often puts that addict directly into danger beyond their addictions, as we are seeing across Canada with thousands dying in the last two years, as Senator Jaffer stated.

The amendment that passed would provide a clear change to the process by which supervised consumption sites operate today.

It states clearly that:

A person who is responsible for the direct supervision, at a supervised consumption site, of the consumption of controlled substances, shall offer a person using the site alternative pharmaceutical therapy before that person consumes a controlled substance that is obtained in a manner not authorized under this Act.

In essence, an individual will be offered a replacement for the illegal, illicit poison they may be in possession of. Under this amendment, the addict I discussed will enter the clinic with or without an illegal substance and be offered pharmaceutical replacement therapy by a medical practitioner, not a drug dealer.

The addict wi...”

Hon. Larry W. Campbell

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Controlled Drugs and Substances Bill Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Debate Adjourned

“...uch as pill presses and encapsulators that can be used to produce illegal drugs such as counterfeit pharmaceuticals; remove the exemption in the Customs Act that prevents officers at the border from i...”

Hon. Bob Runciman

May 2nd
Hansard Link

Controlled Drugs and Substances Bill Bill to Amend—Fourteenth Report of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Adopted

“... site, of the consumption of controlled substances, shall offer a person using the site alternative pharmaceutical therapy before that person consumes a controlled substance that is obtained in a manner not authorized under this act.

(2) the failure to offer alternative pharmaceutical therapy in subsection (1) does not constitute an offence under this Act or any other Act of Parliament.

Senator White, who moved this amendment, can explain it much better than I can, but in brief it is in keeping with a considerable amount of evidence heard at the committee.

(1850)

First, the users of a supervised consumption site are bringing illicit drugs into the facility, drugs that they've acquired in an illegal transaction on the street, and they may well have committed a crime themselves to get the money to buy the product.

Second, these facilities are supervised, but we should be under no illusions about the safety of the product being consumed. These are illegal drugs or, as Senator White referred to them at committee, poison. The buyers don't know what's in them, the staff at the consumption site don't know, and it may be that the sellers don't know either.

The amendment is modelled on the approach being taken in Switzerland, and we heard quite a bit of testimony about that, where they provide a substitute pharmaceutical to addicts. Staff at the clinic and the user will know what is in the product, which ...”

Hon. Bob Runciman,

April 13th
Hansard Link

Controlled Drugs and Substances Bill Bill to Amend—Fourteenth Report of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Presented

“... site, of the consumption of controlled substances, shall offer a person using the site alternative pharmaceutical therapy before that person consumes a controlled substance that is obtained in a manner not authorized under this Act.

(2) The failure to offer alternative pharmaceutical therapy in subsection (1) does not constitute an

offence under this...”

Hon. Judith Seidman

March 9th
Hansard Link

Tobacco Act Non-smokers' Health Act Bill to Amend—Second Reading

“...s. With Bill S-5 protection, health claims such as these must be tested in the very same way as for pharmaceuticals in Canada: with the requirement for the usual scientific evidence based on clinical trials and final approval by Health Canada.

Regulations in Bill S-5 do build in additional authorities for the flexibility of a pathway to market based on emerging evidence. So as the science improves and the studies demonstrate more conclusiveness, regulations can be amended to become either more restrictive, narrowing the scope of use, or less so and broadening it.

As the legislation is written, no claims can be made, even to adults, regarding cessation, toxins or second-hand smoke exposure unless the scientific evidence demonstrates enough certainty in this regard. Products would have to meet existing pre- and after-market requirements for safety, quality and efficacy, as in the case of all new pharmaceuticals covered by the Food and Drugs Act.

(1540)

Also written into Bill S-5 are...”

Senator White

March 7th
Hansard Link

Controlled Drugs and Substances Bill Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

“...site. The way a supervised injection works presently is that a criminal organization produces a non-pharmaceutical poison that they sell to a street vendor who then sells to an addict who goes into a medical facility to shoot up. My issue with that has to do with the amount of criminality and the fact that we don't have people using pharmaceutical drugs. Wouldn't it make more sense for the government instead to do what they do with...”

Senator White

March 7th
Hansard Link

Controlled Drugs and Substances Bill Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

“... do is to have medical practitioners take the next step to providing whatever opioids, narcotics or pharmaceutical drugs are necessary to keep people alive.

My concern with this, and my community's concern in the city of Ottawa, is the fact that this does not remove the harm from people's arms. What it actually does is give them one more place to shoot up, but it does not remove the harm. I would argue that people in the city you and I live in want to try to remove the harm from their arms.

So my perspective would be, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the government really should be pushing — pardon the pun — a supervised injection facility that provides pharmaceutical-grade material for addicts.”

Senator Harder

March 7th
Hansard Link

Controlled Drugs and Substances Bill Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

“...ing to prevent those jurisdictions from acting in their competence with respect to the provision of pharmaceuticals through prescription.”

Senator Forest

March 2nd
Hansard Link

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Bill Second Reading—Debate Continued

“...m.

I appreciate that this measure will foster research and development for new medications by pharmaceutical companies. However, in light of our aging population, I feel compelled to express in ...”

Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie

March 1st
Hansard Link

Ministry of Health Use of Antibiotics in Food Animals—Antimicrobial Resistance

“...Affairs, Science and Technology in its report on unintended consequences in the use of prescription pharmaceuticals in Canada demanded a ban on the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in food anima...”

Hon. Art Eggleton

March 1st
Hansard Link

Ministry of Health Antibiotic Resistance

“...anding Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology released a report on prescription pharmaceuticals, as Senator Ogilvie has pointed out, in which we examined the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. One of our recommendations was for the federal government to promote research by the pharmaceutical industry into the development of new antibiotics by providing various incentives to t...”

Hon. Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P., Minister of Health

March 1st
Hansard Link

Ministry of Health Opioid Addiction Crisis—Safe Consumption Sites

“...king at other medications that can be used, including things like injectable hydromorphone and even pharmaceutical grade heroin, diacetylmorphine.

We have taken the steps as a government to lift a ban on the use of diacetylmorphine, or pharmaceutical heroin — to be used by physicians or under the supervision of health care providers...”

Hon. Larry W. Campbell

February 28th
Hansard Link

Controlled Drugs and Substances Bill Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

“...produced drugs are often made in pill form and can be made to look very much like legally available pharmaceuticals manufactured and sold for medical purposes. They look like the real thing, but they are not. They often contain fentanyl or carfentanil, and there is no way of knowing which of these pills are fake and which are not. They are the cause of many of the overdoses and the deaths in Canada today.

Officials know that the bulk of supply of illicit powdered fentanyl and carfentanil originates from outside of Canada. Very small amounts of these drugs in their pure form can be used to make a large number of counterfeit pills by employing equipment and devices that can be easily purchased and brought into Canada.

Bill C-37 specifically addresses this problem. First of all, it would introduce a prohibition on the import of unregistered pill press and encapsulator devices. These devices are used legitimately in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, food and consumer products. However, in the wrong hands, they can also be used to p...”

Hon. André Pratte

February 16th
Hansard Link

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Bill Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

“... issuance of certificates of supplementary protection, for which patentees with patents relating to pharmaceutical products or medication will be eligible. These certificates will extend the life of the patent for up to a maximum of two years to take into account the delay between the date the patent is filed and the date it receives market authorization. I will come back to that a little later.

Bill C-30 will amend the Trade-marks Act to protect EU geographical indications found in an annex of the agreement. Think of names such as prosciutto, Brie de Meaux, and parmigiano reggiano. Indications that have long been used by Canadian producers, such as feta and gorgonzola, will benefit from acquired rights.

Bill C-30 will also amend the Investment Canada Act to raise from $600 million to $1.5 billion the threshold as of which investments are reviewable by investors from countries that are party to the agreement, or in other words countries that are members of the European Union.

The Coastal Trading Act is amended to provide that European ships will be able to engage in certain dredging activities in Canada and in coastal trade between Montreal and Halifax. The Customs Tariff Act is amended to eliminate tariffs on goods imported from the European Union, immediately or in stages.

As we know, and as I said earlier, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union was negotiated by a Conservative government and a Liberal government. It therefore enjoys significant support among the political class. Nonetheless, some aspects of the agreement have been criticized. Unions, for example, and a segment of what we call "civil society" take a dim view of a particular part of the agreement.

They believe it will bring few gains in terms of economic growth and jobs, even lead to job losses. They believe the agreement extends excessive rights to multinationals and that it will result in privatization of public services and higher drug prices at the expense of sick people and public drug insurance plans.

Some of these predictions are familiar. There were similar attempts at fearmongering before the free trade agreement with the United States and NAFTA were signed. Those fears were not borne out. Other criticisms are specific to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

[English]

When it comes to CETA's impact on jobs, most studies forecast a positive impact in Canada and the European Union alike, although one analysis in particular predicts a negative one. Personally, I'm skeptical of a scenario predicting that employment will decline following the opening of one of the largest markets in the world to Canadian businesses.

Let us look at just one promising area out of hundreds: plastics and chemicals. Right now, these products face average tariffs of 4.9 per cent in the European Union, which will be eliminated when the agreement comes into force, giving Canadian producers an advantage over their competitors. The same applies to a host of Canadian industries. CETA will create jobs in Canada.

One would think that extending the period of patent protection on new drugs — from a few months to up to two years — would have some effect on prices, but how much of an effect? Opponents of the agreement quote a study indicating that prices will increase from 6 to 13 per cent by 2023. According to the authors themselves, however, there are several uncertainties in this study.

Let us start by pointing out that the extra protection will apply only to drugs entering the market after the agreement comes into force. An amendment was made to the bill in the other place in order to make this crystal clear. So the price of drugs that you and I are taking today, and at our age we're taking more and more, whether they be brand name or generic, will not increase, nor will the drug bill now being paid by the health care systems. If there is an impact, it will only be in the long term because generics will take a little longer, up to two years longer, to come on the market.

Note that many factors play a role in drug prices, which are already higher in Canada than in some European countries, even though patent protection lasts five years longer in Europe than here. Factors other than the patent protection term are therefore in play here, government policy being a big one.

That is why the Government of Canada has partnered with provincial governments so that they, through the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, can negotiate brand name and generate drug prices as a bloc with pharmaceutical companies. These collective negotiations have generated $700 million in savings to da...”


Active Bills

Bill C-30


An Act to implement the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union and its Member States and to provide for certain other measures
LEGISInfo Link

Bill Status: Royal Assent

“...i) create a framework for the issuance and administration of certificates of supplementary protection, for which patentees with patents relating to pharmaceutical products will be eligible, and (ii) provide further regulation-making authority in subsection 55.‍2(4) to permit the replace...”

“... Contents (2) The report shall contain (a) a summary of pricing trends in the pharmaceutical industry; and (b) the name of each rights holder and former rights holder in respect of whom an order was ma...”


Bill S-201


An Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination
LEGISInfo Link

Bill Status: Royal Assent

“...lth care practitioner in respect of an individual to whom they are providing health services; or (b) a person who is conducting medical, pharmaceutical or scientific research in respect of an individual who is a participant in the research. OFFENCES AND PUNISHMENT ...”


Filed Regulations

Regulations Amending the Establishment Licensing Fees (Veterinary Drugs) Regulations

May 5, 2017 SOR/2017-77
Registration SOR/2017-77 May 5, 2017 FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION ACT
Gazette Link

“...ablishment licences for activities that relate to drugs for veterinary use only, with the exception of those for activities that relate to any active pharmaceutical ingredient, as defined in subsection C.01A.001(1) of the Food and Drug Regulations, that is for veterinary use.

2 Subsection...”


Regulations Amending the Food and Drug Regulations (Veterinary Drugs — Antimicrobial Resistance)

May 5, 2017 SOR/2017-76
Registration SOR/2017-76 May 5, 2017 FOOD AND DRUGS ACT
Gazette Link

“...tnote 1) is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

List A means the document, entitled List of Certain Antimicrobial Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, that is published by the Government of Canada on its website, as amended from time to time; (Liste A)

List B mea...”

“...wing after section C.01.611:

C.01.612 (1) Every manufacturer or importer who sells a veterinary drug in dosage form that contains an active pharmaceutical ingredient that is set out in List A, or every person who compounds such a drug, shall, in a form established by the Minister, submit t...”

“...one number and email address of the manufacturer or importer; (b) the brand name under which the veterinary health product is sold; (c) the pharmaceutical form in which the veterinary health product is sold; (d) the strength per dosage unit; (e) the route of administration; ...”

“...eed as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Feeds Regulations, 1983; (c) an active ingredient that is for veterinary use and that is not an active pharmaceutical ingredient; (d) an active pharmaceutical ingredient for veterinary use that is not required to be sold pursuant to a prescription and that is also a natural health product as d...”

“... by adding the following after subsection (1):

(1.1) This Division and Division 2 do not apply to a veterinary health product or an active pharmaceutical ingredient that is used in the fabrication of a veterinary health product.

(3) Section C.01A.002 of the Regulations is amende...”

“...porting, by a pharmacist, a veterinary practitioner or a person who compounds a drug under the supervision of a veterinary practitioner, of an active pharmaceutical ingredient for veterinary use that is for the purpose of compounding, pursuant to a prescription, a drug in dosage form that is not com...”

“...LE II

This table shows the amendment.

Item

Categories of Drugs

7

Active pharmaceutical ingredients set out in List A that are for veterinary use

10 Section C.08.001 of the Regulations is replaced by th...”

“...t use or condition of use of that drug. Transitional Provision

11 (1) In this section, fabricate, package/label, import and active pharmaceutical ingredient have the same meaning as in subsection C.01A.001(1) of the Food and Drug Regulations.

(2) Every person who,...”

“...ch section 7, subsections 8(1) and (3) and section 9 of these Regulations come into force, fabricates, packages/labels, tests or imports an active pharmaceutical ingredient for veterinary use may continue to do so without an establishment licence if they submit an application for a licence under ...”

“... Amendments to the FDR will improve the regulatory oversight of antimicrobials for veterinary use. The new regulations will require veterinary active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) imported or sold in Canada to be manufactured in accordance with good manufacturing practices (GMPs); require person...”

“...rtation of unapproved veterinary drugs for a person’s own use (such as the direct administration to food-producing animals) and require that active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used in the manufacture of veterinary drugs be compliant with GMPs.

In Canada, veterinary drugs in dosage ...”

“...es to antimicrobials.

Costs

Price differential between Canadian and U.S. prices for branded veterinary pharmaceuticals. Potential increase in time required for appropriate veterinary oversight. Access to antimicrobials could be red...”

“...Antimicrobials would not be eligible to be included on the list; however, Canada’s 79 668 farmers would continue to be able to access high quality pharmaceuticals from Canadian suppliers.

Access to VHPs

Improved access for Canadian farmers to a growing number of products that may imp...”

“...anuary and March 2013)

These sessions (see footnote 25) included a broad range of stakeholders, representing the perspective of the veterinary pharmaceutical industry, food producer associations, veterinary associations, academics, as well as provincial and federal agriculture and public heal...”

“...e (March 2015–July 2015)

The Department held consultations with a broad range of stakeholders, representing the perspective of the veterinary pharmaceutical industry, food producer associations, veterinary associations, as well as provincial and federal agriculture and public health official...”

“...sent, regardless of their MUMS status. Health Canada is aware of the challenges posed to bring drugs for MUMS to market and has been working with the pharmaceutical industry and other stakeholders to find ways to satisfy the existing regulatory requirements. For example, Health Canada is working on ...”

“... were considered to be unnecessary. The coming into force of the amendment to Division regulations respecting GMP and EL requirements for active pharmaceutical ingredients has been extended to 12 months following publication in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The coming into force of other aspect...”

“...filed an application for an EL within 14 months following the coming into force of the new regulations respecting GMP and EL requirements for active pharmaceutical ingredients to allow more time for Health Canada to manage the expected number of new EL applications and for affected stakeholders to ...”

“... per current Government policy. Paragraph C.01A.001(2)(d) was revised to clarify that Divisions 1A and 2 do not apply to any veterinary active pharmaceutical ingredients that are not required to be sold by prescription and are a natural health product as defined under the Natural Health Pro...”


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