Mr. Speaker, I rise to express my support for the patients with rare disorders and their family members who came to Ottawa this week to meet parliamentarians and attend the Rare Disease Day conference held by CORD, Canada's national network for organizations representing all those with rare disorders. Their message was clear. We need to improve access to treatments for the 2.8 million Canadians affected by a rare disorder.
The Canadian approval process for rare disease treatments or orphan drugs has been called a “Kafkaesque nightmare”. Fewer than 60% of orphan drugs make it into Canada, and only one in three Canadians with a rare disorder can access the treatments he or she needs. The federal government is failing to recognize that orphan drugs and rare diseases are complex issues that cannot simply be rolled under one umbrella regulatory review.
Therefore, I call on the Minister of Health to introduce the orphan drug framework that was completed by the previous Conservative health minister, Rona Ambrose. Canadians with rare disorders need this vital framework to address the current challenges and, ultimately, to help improve and save their lives.