House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drugs.

Topics

Patent Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Conservative Party, I want to add a few words to this discussion on the second group of motions to Bill C-9, which deal mainly with adding medicines.

In particular, I want to address the issue of why we will not be supporting the motions put forward by my hon. friend from the NDP. I will reiterate what the government member said. The member for Windsor West did an excellent job at committee, a real tribute to his constituents.

However, there is something we should keep in mind. Many people before us at committee expressed concern about adding medicines. Let us look at the bill. Proposed section 21.03 of the bill reads:

The Governor in Council may, by order,

(a) on the recommendation of the Minister [of Industry] and the Minister of Health, amend Schedule 1

(i) by adding the name of any patented product that may be used to address public health problems afflicting many developing and least-developed countries, especially those resulting from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other epidemics and, if the Governor in Council considers it appropriate to do so, by adding one or more of the following in respect of the patented product, namely, a dosage form, a strength and a route of administration--

This section really addresses the concern about whether we can add medicines. Perhaps in the future these two medicines may be added, but we do not know at this time. Our party feels that the people who make these decisions should make them within the parameters of this act itself, looking at the massive public health problems afflicting certain nations specifically with regard to HIV-AIDS, TB and malaria. We have to look at it within that umbrella and I really do think that we need to rely on our Department of Health here in Canada to guide us in these matters; that is certainly why we are making the decision we are. Obviously we are open to amending the schedule and adding other medications if that is the desire in the future.

In terms of the advisory council, our party made the motion to ensure that there is parliamentary input into the formation of this council, so that is a welcome addition as well.

I just wanted to add those few explanatory words for my hon. friend. This is why we in the Conservative Party will not be supporting Motions Nos. 14 and 18. We will support the addition to the list of all the other medicines that the government and the Department of Health have okayed and recommended.

Patent Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Yukon
Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, carrying on from where I left off, let me say that my constituents are very happy with the second block of amendments in the sense that this expands the list of eligible drugs. This is what was wanted by a coalition group in my community. Those constituents will be very pleased.

The bill contains schedule 1, the schedule of drugs, which for us is an important part of the legislation. The list reflects a number of drugs that the World Health Organization considers to be essential and which Health Canada is comfortable with in terms of safety, efficacy and high quality.

Although this original list is focused on HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, which are very significant pandemics, Health Canada expects that in the future other valuable drugs will be added. There will be a process for that. We will be constituting an advisory committee with members from industry, academia, government, NGOs and the public health field. These are the experts who will help make schedule 1 the best schedule we can maintain to help other countries.

Again, the original schedule is what we are starting out with. It lists the known therapies that we are comfortable with, because we want to send Canadian drugs that we are confident will provide the desired treatments and outcome.

We must remember that the drugs being provided under this humanitarian measure will carry with them the reputation of Canada for safe, effective, high quality medicines. This is why Health Canada will undertake a review of each generic drug that is sent out under licence. Industry Canada and Health Canada will be working together, as they have throughout this bill, to put together the best advisory committee they can. So if any stakeholders are worried that they will be prevented from having a particular drug listed, they do not need to be worried. We will have very capable experts ensuring the desired drugs.

As well, I note that to ensure we really have the very best scientists and other people involved, a measure has been included in the bill to assess all candidates for appointment to the advisory committee and to make recommendations on their eligibility and qualifications.

Not only are there individual drugs to be considered for this humanitarian effort, but we recognize the very important contribution that fixed-dose combination drugs will make in stemming these epidemics.

Fixed-dose combination drugs are becoming central in meeting the WHO's 3 by 5 initiative to see three million people receive effective therapy for HIV-AIDS by the year 2005. These are drugs where there is more than one medicine put together into a single drug so that it simplifies the ability to ensure effective delivery to patients. We are pleased that a number of these sorts of drugs are on schedule 1. Many additional combinations will be identified in the future. The mechanisms we have in place in the bill will allow for their timely consideration.

There are two drugs that we would not like added to the list. The first one, related to Motion No. 18, is moxifloxacin hydrochloride tablet, 400 mg, and intravenous solution, 400 mg/250 ml. This is one therapy among many within a broad spectrum of antibiotics. It is not used to treat HIV, TB or malaria, which we were talking about earlier. The drug does not figure on the WHO list of essential medicines. It is not clear why this would be the preferred drug in its class. Therefore, the government does not support this motion, but commits to referring the drug to the advisory committee at the earliest possible opportunity for its recommendation. With the expertise on that committee, which I have talked about, I am sure it will give us wise counsel.

The other drug we have an issue with is clarithromycin in tablet, 500 mg, tablet extended release, 500 mg, and powder for oral solution, 125 mg or 250 mg. This is one broad spectrum antibiotic among many. It is not used to treat HIV, TB or malaria. The drug also does not figure on the WHO list of essential medicines and therefore it is not clear why this would be a preferred drug in its class. Therefore, the government does not support the motion, but commits to referring the drug to the advisory committee at the earliest possible opportunity for its recommendation.

The WHO pre-qualified medicine list does not indicate that these medicines in Motion No. 14 are essential, only that the WHO has looked at the source of the medicine and found it to meet minimum standards. It is up to other regulators to determine its appropriate use.

Once we establish our advisory council under the terms that I have mentioned, it will have a very effective way of adding drugs to this list as new diseases become apparent and new drugs and drug combinations are put together that would be helpful.

This adds to making this an excellent bill for Canada to lead the way and become the first nation in the world to pass legislation that will help those nations most in need while they are in situations where they cannot afford the drugs. Of course, as their societies and economies progress then they too will be contributors. They will be producing these drugs and they too will be contributors to those less fortunate, and producing the drugs so that everyone in the world will have as much access as possible at as reasonable a price as possible.

Patent Act
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Pursuant to an order made earlier today, Motions Nos. 12, 13, 15 to 17, 19 and 20 are deemed to have been put and agreed to on division.

(Motions Nos. 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19 and 20 deemed adopted)

Patent Act
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Motions Nos. 14 and 18 are deemed to have been put and the recorded division deemed requested and deferred until 5:30 p.m. today.

The House resumed from April 27 consideration of the motion that Bill C-12, an act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children and other vulnerable persons) and the Canada Evidence Act, be read the third time and passed, and of the amendment.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Paul MacKlin Northumberland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in today's debate on Bill C-12, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the protection of children and other vulnerable persons, and to make changes to the Canada Evidence Act.

I will speak to a part of the bill that has not received a great deal of attention thus far but contains important provisions for children and other vulnerable witnesses.

Bill C-12 contains a range of reforms to the Criminal Code that would make it easier for a child or other vulnerable persons who are witnesses to provide their testimony at criminal trials. These provisions build on the current Criminal Code provisions that recognize that participating in the justice system as a victim or witness is not a pleasant experience. It is usually a very traumatic experience, particularly for children.

The proposed changes in Bill C-12 recognize that despite the progress that we have made in developing a justice system that is responsive and sensitive to the needs of children and all victims and witnesses, more still needs to be done.

Our law currently permits the judge to exclude members of the public from the courtroom in some circumstances. For example, this could be ordered where a child victim of sexual abuse is giving his or her evidence.

In addition, a publication ban may be imposed to protect the identity of young victims. A support person may accompany a young victim and some young victims may give their evidence from behind a screen or on closed-circuit TV. The law also protects a young victim or witnesses of a sexual or violent offence from having to face questioning from an accused who represents him or herself.

Videotaped interviews are also permitted to be used as evidence where the child adopts the videotape at the court proceeding.

The current provisions when they are used work well. However, due in part to the fact that some of these provisions have been amended over time rather than as one comprehensive package, we now have a different series of tests for the use of various testimonial aids, different offences to which they apply and different age categories of young persons who can benefit.

Obviously the bill goes a long way toward resolving some of these concerns and hopefully I will have a chance to explain it at another sitting of the House.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

The member will have 17 minutes left in his speech, followed by a 10 minute question or comment period, when the bill comes back to the House.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-9, An Act to amend the Patent Act and the Food and Drugs Act (The Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa), as reported with amendment from the committee, and of Motions Nos. 2, 14 and 18.

Patent Act
Government Orders

April 28th, 2004 / 5:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division at the report stage of Bill C-9.

Call in the members.

And the bells having run:

Patent Act
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

The question is on Motion No. 2.

(The House divided on Motion No. 2, which was negatived on the following division:)

Patent Act
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

I declare Motion No. 2 lost.

The next question is on Motion No. 14.

Patent Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it, I think you would find unanimous consent for members who voted on the previous motion to be recorded as having voted on Motions Nos. 14 and 18 now before the House, with Liberal members being recorded as voting nay, with the exception of those Liberals wishing to be recorded as voting otherwise.

Patent Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Patent Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Patent Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative members here tonight will vote no on the motions now before the House.