House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was energy.

Topics

Cross-Border Drug Sales
Government Orders

November 1st, 2005 / 8:15 p.m.

Independent

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Chair, I have listened to the debate for some time this evening. My colleague from Quebec mentioned the huge shortage of medications that we would have in Canada. Would it not be reasonable to assume that if there were going to be an increased use of a drug, that the companies might want to hire more people and produce more of the drug? I am surprised that people would automatically think we are going to run out.

I am also a bit surprised that we would accept the fact, and I could have heard the member wrong in her comments, that if every person in the U.S. had their prescription filled we would run out in 38 days. I think the chance of that happening is pretty slim.

Cross-Border Drug Sales
Government Orders

8:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Chair, if every American citizen went out and filled their prescription by the Canadian market that idea is not far-fetched. We would run out. Prescription drugs that are manufactured and sold in Canada are manufactured for the domestic market. They are based on forecasts of how many Canadians will require this particular drug over the coming year and the actual product is manufactured in numbers to meet that need. It is not manufactured in order for half of it to be sold to the United States.

However I also find it interesting that the member questioned the issue that the companies would simply increase the amount. No, the companies will not. Why will they not? Because the drugs in--

Cross-Border Drug Sales
Government Orders

8:15 p.m.

The Chair

I am sorry to interrupt the member but the time has expired for debate.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Yellowhead.

Cross-Border Drug Sales
Government Orders

8:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Chair, it is a privilege to stand and address the people in the House and the people of Canada with regard to this debate.

First, we have to understand what has happened, what the problem is and why it is there before we can solve a problem. In reality, we do not have a debate here because all sides agree on one direction, one thing that should be done. It then becomes a matter of why it has not been done which is what the debate should be about this evening.

The problem is that we have a pricing regime in Canada for brand name pharmaceuticals and it sets the price for Canadians, not for Americans. The only reason the Internet pharmacy industry is alive and doing well today is because it is using that pricing regime to pump those pharmaceuticals into a foreign market that does not have a pricing regime and whose pharmaceuticals are sometimes 50% to 80% higher for some of the brand name pharmaceuticals.

However, before we think that our pricing regime is so good, we have to understand that it is only for the brand name pharmaceuticals that it is actually working because our pricing regime for generic drugs is actually quite a bit higher than that of the United States and, therefore, we are not seeing the exploitation of Internet pharmacies with regard to generic pharmaceuticals. The problem has to do with whether we can afford to allow the pharmaceuticals to go into the United States and compromise our pricing regime.

We have always, in our party, said that if it ever compromises either the availability of product or the pricing of our product, it has to be curtailed. The decision tonight is either to curtail the Internet pharmacy or to destroy it. The present government is the one that actually encouraged it at one time and said that it was all right and it started.

I for one believe that we should curtail it. I do not believe that we should destroy it. In Manitoba we are talking about the jobs of a significant number of individuals who are working in this industry. I think it is fine as long as it is contained and it does not compromise two fundamental things, which is price of the product or the availability of it.

First, let us deal with the availability of it. There is no fear of the availability of any product except Tamiflu, and I will talk about that a little later. When it comes to the availability of brand name pharmaceuticals, it is the pharmaceutical corporation that must decide whether it wants to play this game. It can decide to live with containing it, but containing it would mean shutting down the bulk sales of it.

What has the health minister done? The minister came forward a year ago this November and said that this was his number one issue. I wonder how many times we have heard the government talk about something being its number one issue, but this was the number one issue in the speech the minister gave a year ago at Harvard.

However all winter last year the minister would throw another balloon in the air almost every week saying that it should be stopped because of this or it should be stopped because of that. For a little while he had a different reason almost on a weekly basis, which made it difficult to understand where he was. It was obvious that he wanted to do something but absolutely nothing was done. Here we are a year later and this was his number one priority.

He sent this to the health committee and we looked at it but we got bogged down on it to some degree. However we did come forward with a solution to the problem to help the minister out. The reason we came forward with a solution before we had completed our study was because of what was happening in the United States, where a bill was being pushed through Congress that looked like it would pass perhaps in the summertime. Before we broke for spring we felt that something had to be done to kick the minister in the backside to make something happen.

We pushed a motion through committee and on June 6 we moved for concurrence in the House on the committee report. However the Liberals, who had agreed to the motion in committee, limited the debate on the report and we were not able to vote on it on June 6.

The motion put forward by myself asked that the bulk sales of pharmaceuticals be shut down. It was all right to go individual to individual but to shut down bulk sales, the two fundamental problems that we were afraid of was either the price or the availability of the product.

Now, not only do the brand name pharmaceuticals want us to shut down the bulk sales but the Internet pharmacy businesses also say that we should do that. They see it as a positive move. They are very content with the business they have at the present time, which is actually diminishing because of the difference in the Canada and U.S. dollars.

We pushed the minister into action but what did he do? On June 29 he came out with an announcement. We thought something would actually happen but nothing happened. He announced that something had to be studied a little further and that perhaps he would do something with regard to dealing with this, which would be to shut down the bulk exports by way of the Food and Drugs Act. That is what should have been done and we expected that to happen. It should have been done long before now.

Here we are this evening debating and we should be debating on which way we should go on this. We also drove that debate into the House where we actually had a vote in the House on October 6, less than a month ago. The vote was 288 to 0, which means that every member of the House representing every Canadian in the country voted to shut down the bulk exportation of brand name pharmaceuticals in this country. We still have a minister who has not acted even though it was his number one priority a year ago.

That is the situation we have seen not only with the Internet pharmacy but with other high priority issues like crystal methamphetamine, an issue that we have long been waiting for. I had gone to the minister with a private member's bill asking for the precursors of methamphetamine to be prosecuted and to change the Food and Drugs Act to make that happen. The minister agreed with me and told me that he would see what he could do. He made an announcement in mid-summer that had to go into the chronicles for 75 days, which is long past, and we still have seen no action on the precursors for crystal methamphetamine. I took the minister at his word when he said that he would do something but he has not done it.

It gets worse than that. Hepatitis C is another issue where the House spoke loud and clear. A motion was moved in the House which was a directive given by the House to the minister to be able to compensate those who were victimized with hepatitis C outside the 1988 to 1990 window and absolutely not one cheque has been given. There was $1.2 billion set up in a fund and $1.1 billion left in it and the minister is still saying that we should study it. He said that we had to study it in June to find out whether we had enough money to pay out. He found out there was enough money but there still has not been one cheque.

That is the kind of contempt that the government is showing to Canadians and to the House. That is not democracy.

If we are here debating something tonight, it is not whether there should be a decision to ban exports of pharmaceuticals. We should be debating whether the House means anything, whether a vote in the House carries any weight and why the government is still in power when it can treat this place, and Canadians in an extension of this place, with such contempt. That is the real debate that should be taking place in the House tonight, especially on a day like we have had today when we see the kind of situations that the government has got into over the last number of years. It is a disgrace and it is frustrating.

Let us talk about something that is really relevant and very current with regard to brand name pharmaceuticals, Tamiflu. We have right now another few birds that have contracted avian flu. We are not sure exactly what strain it is. It is not only in Manitoba and in Ontario but it was discovered this afternoon in British Columbia. We are seeing, almost on a daily basis, a potentially very serious problem happening in our country.

When we see why we should have had bulk sales of pharmaceuticals banned it is because of the Tamiflu. Yesterday, not the brand name pharmaceuticals, but the Internet pharmaceutical corporations said that they will stop all sales of Tamiflu to the United States.They are the ones who have shown the leadership, more leadership than we have seen from the government and the minister.

It is absolutely amazing, when we are sitting with a potential crisis and when we have seen that it was the number one issue on the mind of the minister a year ago, and we have still seen no action. No wonder we are excited and upset about what we are not seeing in so far as leadership from the government.

Should it happen? Should we be banning bulk sales? Yes, but not now; it should have been long before now. What this debate is really about is the lack of leadership from a government that has shown none in this regard.

Cross-Border Drug Sales
Government Orders

8:25 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Chair, the hon. member says that the banning of bulk sales is the remedy to everything. My contention is that is only part of the remedy. That is not where it ends.

Let us look at the Internet pharmacies themselves and how they have caused shortages of product and medications in this country. They have stretched medical ethics as though they were an elastic. They have gone so far as to send flyers in the mail last year telling doctors that if they want to make some extra money for their Christmas shopping they could sign prescriptions at $10 a crack. I raised that flyer on the floor of this House. Surely the hon. member, knowledgeable as he is on issues involving medicine, cannot say that this is okay, that this is acceptable.

I want to go back to the issue of Tamiflu. I want to read something that was read into the record earlier today. This is from a media report:

Online, demand by individuals is skyrocketing.

“It's crazy,” said Mark Catroppa, a vice president with CanadaMedicineShop.com in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company has about 175,000 U.S. customers.

Last year, his company sold no more than 10 doses of Tamiflu or Relenza in any month....During the past two weeks, about 400 people a day ordered the drugs [from outside the country].

Can the member say that these individual sales do not also affect the availability of product when that kind of increase is going on, not according to what I say, but according to what the people selling the stuff are saying themselves?

How can the member say that it is only the bulk sales that are at issue and not the Internet pharmacies as an institution?

Cross-Border Drug Sales
Government Orders

8:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Chair, I would like to clear up some of the numbers that the hon. member has been using.

The Canadian International Pharmacy Association, which is the bulk of the Internet pharmacy group, right now are serving 1.8 million individuals. That has actually been decreasing in the last year or year and a half, not increasing.

When the hon. member uses the red flag of Tamiflu, I do not know if he heard me but I mentioned in my dialogue that yesterday the Internet pharmacy completely banned all sales of Tamiflu, recognizing the potential shortage and that Canadians come first. I think that is an appropriate move. I am not saying they had to do it by any means. I am saying they did it voluntarily and hats off to them.

By the way, Roche Pharmaceuticals is the only corporation in the world that actually produces Tamiflu. It is the only brand name pharmaceutical, and I have never seen this before, that has actually stopped selling Tamiflu, so that it has enough for Canadians who may potentially need it for emergency flu symptoms this winter. I see that as a positive thing.

Getting back to my hon. colleague's objection to the Internet pharmacy, let us get serious about what his objection was, which was that a doctor in the United States prescribing to a patient in his office is not as valid and as safe as a doctor in Canada prescribing to his patient. That is really what he is saying by saying that a doctor cannot fill that prescription.

That is an argument which I absolutely believe has no weight. In fact, in some ways I would say that the relationships of physicians in the United States with their patients are just as valid as those of doctors in Canada with their patients.

I know the minister has used that argument. I know my hon. colleague has thrown that argument around. I say it is a phony argument. I say it does not pull any weight.

That would mean that if a doctor saw a patient in British Columbia who wanted a prescription to be filled in Newfoundland or any other place in Canada it would not be valid. Let us say that a patient in Vancouver was seeing a doctor in Vancouver but went up to Prince George to fill the prescription and that is valid, but a patient from Seattle who sees a doctor and goes up to Vancouver, which is just a few miles away, would not be valid. I say that is phony. That is a garbage argument that does not pull any weight as far as I am concerned.

Anyone in the medical profession who does not have an axe to grind and a bent on this one would recognize that.

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Government Orders

8:30 p.m.

Independent

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Chair, to emphasize again the comments relating to Internet pharmacies and physicians from one country to the other, my understanding is that Canada recognizes American trained physicians and American trained pharmacists. They might have to do a bit of licensing here and there, but we recognize their credibility. The statements coming out of the mouths of politicians here in Canada that somehow one would not be as credible I would put along the same lines as statements by George Bush suggesting that drugs coming from Canada are not safe.

I would like the member's comments on that.

Cross-Border Drug Sales
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8:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Chair, I would argue the same thing. That is what my argument was with my hon. colleague, that a doctor-patient relationship in the United States is just as valid as a doctor-patient relationship here in Canada.

We need to ensure that there is a doctor-patient relationship in the United States that is valid. We should do that in Canada as well. I would suggest to my hon. colleague that probably does not happen all the time, and perhaps that is the weak link.

This is not about a professional in one country being more professional than another. That is a phony argument and does not carry any weight at all.

The member asked a very good question. How do we fix the problem? Everyone says we need to ban the bulk sales of pharmaceuticals because that is what is really compromising the price and availability of a product for Canadians.

As for me, I will look after my constituents. I will look after Canadians first. They are our number one priority. As long as they are looked after, then we are doing our job in the House on behalf of all Canadians.

Cross-Border Drug Sales
Government Orders

8:35 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Batters Palliser, SK

Mr. Chair, I would like to commend the member for Yellowhead on the motion that he put forward in committee and which passed unanimously in the House 280 to 0, asking that the Minister of International Trade and the government be proactive in protecting Canadians and end the practice of bulk exports.

The member for Glengarry--Prescott--Russell had some passionate views on Internet pharmacies, but he directed his comments toward my colleague from Yellowhead as though he could do something about it, as though he were the minister of health. I urge the experienced member to turn those comments toward his government and the Minister of Health and the Minister of International Trade. I urge him to ask that these things be fixed. He has the passion, but we are not the government yet.

I would like the member for Yellowhead to clarify something that was addressed by the member for Churchill earlier in the debate. She made a comment regarding prescriptions going south to the United States. She said that the pharmaceutical companies could just hire more people and make more pills.

I would like to hear the thoughts of the experienced member of the health committee on that process. My understanding is that this is a very complex process. Plants cannot be built overnight. Complex pills are being made that affect the human body. We are not selling record players or vacuum cleaners. These are medications that alter the human body.

Is it simply that easy, to just hire a few more people and pump out more pills?

Cross-Border Drug Sales
Government Orders

8:35 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Chair, obviously it is not, although I think it would be a stretch to say that we would have a shortage of some of those pills. A lot of the pharmaceutical corporations do not want to play the game if they are just going to sell into a regulated market and for that to be exploited and sent to another international market. That regulated market is for Canadians, and that is really the issue. Could they make more pills? In time they probably could because they are in the business of selling pills, but that is not the real issue.

The other thing which I think needs to be mentioned is that there is actually a law in the United States banning the importation of Internet pharmaceuticals. There is not a politician with the backbone to enforce that law and say, “Grandma, you have to pay twice as much for your pharmaceuticals in the United States”. That is the reality of the situation. They understand that full well. I talked to a number of them at a conference a couple of weeks ago.

Cross-Border Drug Sales
Government Orders

8:35 p.m.

West Nova
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Chair, I appreciate the opportunity to address this urgent matter of public health.

As my hon. colleague the Minister of Health has made clear, the Government of Canada is committed to securing the access of Canadians to an uninterrupted supply of safe and affordable drugs, particularly those used for serious or life threatening conditions.

The fact is that drugs may be in short supply for any number of reasons, including a shortage of raw material or an unforeseen breakdown in the manufacturing process. These are not desirable situations, but they are understandable.

What is not acceptable, however, is if our pharmaceutical supply in Canada becomes strained because we have sold off our medicines to a higher bidder. That puts the health of Canadians at a grave and immediate risk. To mitigate that risk, the Government of Canada is taking action now, bold and decisive action that will immediately protect our domestic drug supply. The strategy proposed by our government will have a direct and measurable impact on the health of Canadians.

Other effects of these measures will be felt over the longer term. By protecting uninterrupted access to safe and affordable drugs and by reducing pressure on the cost of our drugs and the pricing system, the initiatives we are proposing will help keep our health care system viable. As part of the measures we are planning, we intend to increase the security of prescription drug sales in Canada, something that will benefit all patients, whether they live in Canada or elsewhere.

Americans are keen consumers of our Canadian medications. They come in person over the border or order their medicines online. Without question this is good business for the Canadian drug manufacturers and pharmacies. According to IMS Health, total cross-border drug sales to the U.S. reached $1.35 billion in 2004. That may be a drop in the bucket for America's $300 billion retail prescription market, but it represents a sizeable 8% of the same market domestically.

It is not just the scope of the phenomenon that we are concerned about, it is the staggering growth rate as well. Consider that between 2002 and 2004, cross-border drug sales escalated by about $7 million to $60 million per month. We all know what is driving this trend: money.

For some time now Americans have been taking advantage of Canadian drug prices that are on average 40% lower than the cost of comparable products in the United States. While U.S. prices have soared in recent years, the costs of prescription drugs in Canada have been held in check by the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board.

With the growing price differential between our two countries, cash-strapped U.S. state governments, institutions and individual seniors have looked northward to meet their ever expanding needs.

Now if we could stop time so that nothing moves, we could meet the current demand for export handily. But nothing, obviously, is static. The demand for prescription drugs in the United States continues to grow, as in Canada, and reasonably so, since the population is aging, more people have chronic illnesses and the number of new drugs increases.

In addition, from time to time, a new demand arises, as with the recent rush to buy Tamiflu as protection against the effects of a potential flu pandemic. As well, the American Congress is currently considering nine bills all, more or less, involving the legalization of bulk drug imports from Canada.

We have no way of knowing the size of the American bulk drug import market, but we do know that it will be too big for Canada to handle without compromising its own supply. If the bulk market legislation revives cross border sales of drugs that meet American standards, from the current 0.5% to 1% of the American market, the impact on Canada would be considerable. It would mean that one drug in six intended for use in Canada would be diverted and sent out of the country.

The potential risk to public health is self-evident but there is another consequence to consider, the impact on our health care system. Right now, thanks to our made in Canada drug pricing regime, patented medicines here cost about 9% less than the international median. That is an important price break for us because patented drugs make up 80% of Canada's total drug expenditures, $18 billion of the $22 billion spent on all types of drugs in 2004.

What is more, we spend more on drugs than any other component of our health care system, including physician services. One dollar of every $6 we spend in health care goes to medicines. As we look toward the future, drug expenditures are projected to grow faster than any other component of health care. In other words, by preserving the access of Canadians to affordable drugs, we are also protecting our domestic drug pricing regime and that will contribute to the sustainability of our health care system.

To address these challenges, the Government of Canada has proposed a three part strategy. First, we would create a pan-Canadian drug supply network. The network would furnish us with precise, comprehensive and up to the minute data on Canada's drug supply. Information like this is crucial for governments to make effective plans and take meaningful action to safeguard Canadians' access to medicines.

The second element of the strategy would amend the Food and Drugs Act to allow the Government of Canada to restrict drug exports whenever necessary to protect human health. We could, for instance, impose bans on the export of individual drugs or classes of drugs if Canada appears in danger of suffering serious shortages.

The third and final element would reinforce conditions on the sale of prescription drugs. Physicians would be required to have an established relationship with their patients before issuing prescriptions to them. This would hold true whether the patients were Canadian or from any other country.

As the details of our strategy take shape, we are asking Canadians to provide their input. Toward that end, we launched public consultations on October 6. People can contact us with their thoughts either through online forums or other channels until November 7. Health Canada has also recently completed face to face consultations with representatives of the drug industry, wholesalers and distributors and professional associations representing pharmacists, medical practitioners and their regulatory authorities. A meeting with provincial and territorial ministers of health is slated for November.

Over the past seven months there have also been discussions with other federal departments, as well as with Americans, including the health and human services secretary and members of Congress.

It should be clear that the Government of Canada is paying very serious attention to protecting Canadians' access to safe and affordable drugs.

We are not trying—and I underscore this—to shut down the activities of any industry. Rather, our intent is to give priority to health protection, the security of Canadians and the viability of our health care services and system.

However, we cannot be paralyzed into inaction. We must plan and prepare today and be willing to take bold and swift action whenever the need arises, indeed before the need arises. That is why we have put forward the response strategy I described, to give us the information and tools necessary to secure Canadians' access to a safe and affordable supply of prescriptions drugs. I encourage my hon. colleagues to support these initiatives.

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8:45 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Charleswood—St. James, MB

Mr. Chair, the hon. member raises some interesting points, but one issue is very intriguing. The member says that the industry grew dramatically between 2000 and 2004 and that this was causing concern. This has happened under a Liberal government. From the year 2004 to present, the industry has shrunk. I know in my own province, the number of online pharmacies has gone down by about 50%.

On the issue of importation in the United States, we have to be clear. Bulk exports from Canada to the United States cannot be allowed. We all agree on that point. The fact that some states, as has been suggested, have allowed bulk imports is irrelevant because the FDA in the United States controls the boundary. The states can say whatever they want but the federal government in the United States will not allow for bulk importation.

Another interesting point is the PMPRB was a Conservative initiative, and the pricing is based on industrial averages of the OECD. To suggest that the pricing will somehow be affected is not an intellectually honest argument.

The member also talks about a pan-Canadian network. That seems like a good idea except the Liberal government has proven completely incapable of dealing with anything that requires coordination. We have to look at Infoway as an example, another billion dollar boondoggle that the government has caused. The Auditor General has raised several concerns about this.

If this is such a big concern, he is on the health committee, why did he not raise this at the health committee? Why did the Liberal chair of the health committee not raise it? It was the Conservative members who raised it and have insisted that the health committee deal with the issue and study it. The Liberals have refused to be proactive and push that agenda where it should be dealt with, at the health committee.

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8:50 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault West Nova, NS

Mr. Chair, the member is right on one point and one point only. It was a member of the Conservative Party, namely the opposition critic, who wanted this to be studied by the committee. He also put the proviso that the minister should not act until it had been fully studied by the committee. He has brought 32,000 dilatory motions at the committee. He has kept bills before the committee, like a private member's bill that would have antiperspirant classified as food. Because of that we have been unable to get to other points of business, which I think is interesting. However, I give credit to some of the points he makes.

On the question of bulk exports and the restrictions for them, if we get to the mechanics of the bill that the minister proposes to bring forward, it answers those questions. I do not think anyone argues on the three elements.

The member would argue one element. He would argue about the question of there being a relationship between the patient and physician. I will get back to an item that was raised a few times, the question of Tamiflu. The use of these drugs without proper supervision and under the wrong circumstances can have a detrimental effect to humanity.

That is why Roche has been very responsible in saying that it will provide its supply to governments, to ensure that those public supplies are done first and that it be handled properly. There is a risk of developing resistance to antivirals. In the eventuality of there being a pandemic, it is important that these products be used properly and that they be used under the supervision a doctor.

Those questions come to mind. I kid the member and we have some very interesting jousting matches. I understand where he is coming from. He, like all of us, shares a concern about the safety of Canadians, the safety of the drug supply and the proper use of our medical system. He also has the interests of his province on the question of the economics of these Internet pharmacies.

How do we strike a public balance? Consultations are underway. The bill that will be brought before us will be studied at the committee is the right way to proceed.

Cross-Border Drug Sales
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8:50 p.m.

Independent

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Chair, my colleague has said that the government wants to take action and wants to get something done. I go back to the comments that were made earlier about the vote in the House which had unanimous support to ban the bulk exports. Nothing has been done. It is wonderful to talk and talk about how wonderful one is and all the wonderful things one will do. However, when the government is in a position to do those things and does not do them, at some point Canadians have to say that it is just a lot of fluff. There is a key point that can be fixed and everyone seems to agree on it. That is the banning of bulk exports.

I know we want to look after Canadians first. There is no question that we want to ensure the pricing and the availability. I think we are all on the same page in that regard as well. However in return, as Canadians we should feel quite honoured with our health system and our system of pricing. Literally millions of Americans want to access our system. Their politicians are afraid to take action against them because they know they will be ripped to shreds by their own population. Somehow it is up to Canada to act responsibly because American politicians are unwilling to put in place the same type of system that we have, a system that benefits all their population.

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8:55 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault West Nova, NS

Mr. Chair, on the question of the motion on bulk exports, there is no argument anywhere in the House. There is a principle of many members of the House, especially the party to which the member used to belong, and that is we should consult with our stakeholders. I agree with that, but sometimes it is still in the process. We are going through that period now.

Also the question of having the proper legislative and regulatory framework to do that in light of our international commitments, our international contracts and engagements and treaties and trade arrangements makes it necessary to bring legislation forward. We have to do it. We are going through that process now to ensure we protect our drug supply.

The earlier comment that the price of drugs is not at risk by Internet pharmacies and bulk exports is not true. Our price control mechanism is at the factory gate and not necessarily at the pharmacy level or consumer level. If we restrict the supply and the demand remains the same, there is a risk of a price increase. It is important to maintain a good and proper supply to meet Canada's needs.