Mr. Chair, over the past few years the government has responded to calls for action on health through a series of important program commitments, and with the dollars to back them up.
With that in mind, I would like to check on one of those commitments from the 2002 Speech from the Throne: to speed up the regulatory approval of drugs. The reality is that there is a range of new pharmaceuticals and other therapeutic products being produced by researchers and companies in many countries. If we talk to people in the health sector, we learn that they are now using drugs to treat conditions that once required surgery or conditions for which there were no adequate treatments at all. That makes access to these new medications very important.
At the same time, common sense tells us that we need to take a good look at drugs before they come to market and afterwards too. We need to ensure that a new drug not only does what it purports to do but that it has no unexpected side effects or impacts, either on the people who take them in general or on specific groups.
On the issue of speedier review of these pharmaceuticals, may I ask the minister how this project is coming along?