Monday, September 19, 2011

Parliament needs to address Canada’s drug problem

Canadian Health Coalition
September 2011

The Canadian Health Coalition is calling on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health to conduct hearings into, and report on, the regulation and marketing of pharmaceuticals in Canada.


1. Why are adverse drug reactions among the leading cause of death in Canada?

2. Why has Health Canada prepared draft legislation to weaken drug safety regulation and speed up drug approvals without producing evidence that drug safety will not be adversely affected?

3. Why are Canadians paying 30% more for patented drugs than the OECD average?

4. Why is the government of Canada negotiating a trade agreement with the European Union (CETA) that would extend data exclusivity for brand-name drugs and further increase excessive prices annually by $2.8 billion, when the industry has failed to deliver on its promises to perform research and innovation in Canada?

5. Why does Health Canada allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs with cross-border US ads that are illegal in Canada, and 'made-in-Canada' reminder ads, including ads for drugs Health Canada has issued safety warnings about?

6. How are public drug insurance plans performing in terms of access, costs, and evidence-based formularies? How many Canadians are uninsured or underinsured?

7. Why does Health Canada permit the illegal promotion of off-label drugs to physicians? One consequence of this is doctors prescribing dangerous antipsychotics to young children with no clinical evidence of safety or efficacy.

8. Why is there no accountability for prescribing practices of health care professionals in most jurisdictions in Canada?

9. Why has Health Canada continued to maintain high levels of secrecy in drug regulation when both the U.S. and the European Union have instituted more open regulatory procedures?

10. Why does the majority of the budget of Canada’s drug regulator (Therapeutic Products Directorate) come from the industry it is supposed to regulate?

11. Why does the Marketed Health Products Directorate receive less than 1/3 of the resources as the Therapeutics Products Directorate and the Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate?

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