Seniors’ Poverty

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I was very moved by the speech by the hon. member for Sudbury.

The member spoke about pharmaceutical drugs and their prices. Has the official opposition looked at the efficacy and the inadequacies of registration for prescription drugs. Recently it was drawn to my attention, through a therapeutics initiative in British Columbia, that 150,000 North Americans die every year using prescription drugs as prescribed, that we are not using enough of an evidence-based approach and that we should be concerned about seniors being overmedicated.

I wonder if the hon. member has a view on this.

Glenn Thibeault: Mr. Speaker, in relation to the specifics, it would be best to defer that to the critic for health in our party.

However, in relation to overmedication of seniors and some of the problems that we are seeing when it relates to seniors, I believe one of our colleagues from the Conservative bench wrote a book about the subject. I have also had the opportunity of working in the field of supporting individuals with developmental handicaps who were also seniors. What we have seen in many instances is overmedication and the over-medication results in them going to the hospital.

I spoke earlier about those costs and the implication that those costs have on our health care system. If we actually had a national pharmacare program, those dollars could be saved so that we could ensure that seniors have more money in their pockets, because that is the motion that we are speaking to today.