Standing Committee on Health (HESA)

This week the Health committee began its examination of the role of government and industry in determining drug supply in Canada.  Drug shortages have increased by over 4 times the amount in 2006.  The government held an emergency debate in the House to determine what to do about this issue. 

On Tuesday , Pharmaceutical Associations stated that the reasons for the drug shortages are two-fold.  The first is that most contracts are only with a single supplier and therefore, when the supplier has an issue, shortages inevitably result.  The second issue is that the competitive market leads to decreased prices of drugs and is causing companies to leave the market because the companies are no longer competitive. 

On Thursday, medical coalitions and associations provided a different perspective.  They urged the federal government to take a role on this issue.  The federal government said that health care is a provincial matter and there is nothing they can do.  The opposition slammed the government for putting all the pressure on provinces by refusing to provide any support outside of transfers.