May 21st, 2015

Conservatives failing Canadians on drug safety

The Conservative government should be doing more to detect problems before unsafe drugs hit the market and need to be recalled, the NDP said today.

Access to Information documents obtained by La Presse revealed that the frequency of drug recalls has increased dramatically under the Conservatives.

“Canadians deserve to know that the drugs they are taking are safe and effective,” said Murray Rankin (Victoria), NDP critic for health. “The Conservatives are failing to deliver on that most basic, fundamental responsibility because of its inadequate inspection regime.”

In response to an Order Paper question posed by the NDP, the government admitted earlier this year that Health Canada inspects very few Canadian-owned factories abroad each year. Instead, Health Canada depends on voluntary reports from other regulators, in addition to scouring websites for publicly available data. The government’s response also revealed that few domestic inspections result in actions being taken to address compliance.

“This is becoming an unfortunate pattern with this government,” added Christine Moore (Abitibi-Témiscamingue), NDP deputy critic for health. “From pharmaceutical advertising to clinical trials, the Conservatives are refusing to use their existing powers to protect Canadians.”