Thank you, Madam Chair.
At no time do we believe that Health Canada, through any of our policies or actions, contributed to a drug shortage. Through a matter of policy, there are always drugs in our queue waiting for approval. When we understand that a drug is medically necessary and is of priority to the health system, we can expedite the review process. That's something we do and have continued to do, whether drugs are in shortage or not. We give priority to new, innovative therapies, rather than approving a second or third me-too drug, if you will, and we continue to do that.
We have, through investments in the program, significantly improved our performance. We are meeting all of our performance targets, with the exception of generic drugs. In all instances, as we approve drugs, we do so with the full intent of making sure that they are brought to the market as quickly and efficiently as possible; that is, we provide authorizations that the drugs are safe and of high quality. It is really up to the market to determine, once the authorizations are provided, if they will choose to purchase from that source that we have authorized.
We are, in fact, aware of a number of instances in which, after we have authorized a product, the market has chosen not to purchase from that, or potentially the authorization holder has decided not to enter the Canadian market, despite having gone through our approval process and paying us substantial fees to achieve our approval.
It is difficult for me to say exactly why these drug shortages happen, since we do authorize numerous sources of supply.