Thank you, Madam Chair.
First and foremost, to confirm for the member, I was not present during the previous panel, so I cannot comment directly on all of the interventions that they were able to make.
However, in response to the member's question, we do feel that it would be quite a challenge for Health Canada to play that particular role, as we do not know what is going on between the purchasers, the large bulk-purchasing agents, and the various suppliers. We would need to become party to all of those contractual arrangements. We do, however, think it's very important, and we encourage all jurisdictions to diversify their supply as we move forward.
Health Canada does take a look at all submissions provided to us from the drug companies, and we will provide alternate authorizations. In fact, in many instances we authorize numerous companies to provide the drugs available to the market. How we end up with a sole supplier of a particular drug....
In the current situation with Sandoz, of the eight drugs that the provinces identified as their highest priority, Health Canada had previously authorized alternate suppliers for all of those drugs, so it becomes a practice of purchasing that leads us to the sole-source supplier arrangements. We think that the best place for that intervention is between the suppliers and the purchasers. We've already seen that they're beginning to react and respond, based on their sole-source purchasing habits, and making the necessary adjustments.