Drug safety bill could be made better if the government is interested

OTTAWA – If the Conservatives can put aside partisanship and work with the opposition, then their drug safety bill can become a great piece of legislation, according to Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, MP Carol Hughes.

Hughes joined debate on the bill (C-17), which the Conservatives want to rush to committee, and cautioned the government to avoid the temptation to dismiss opposition amendments which has been the pattern in committees for the most part.

“The government is using majorities at committee to continue ramming through legislation,” said Hughes. “The opposition has some good ideas but they just get shot down.”

Hughes cited amendments that would increase the information that Health Canada relays to Canadians as being important to consider.  She said that families who have loved-ones involved in clinical trials along with all Canadians deserve to learn the outcome of those experiments.  In addition to miscommunication on clinical trials, Health Canada has been slow reporting vital information relating to drug recalls.

Hughes says it is important to make sure that Canadians, especially patients, are the first consideration for Health Canada and the Minister of Health.

“The Minister should be able to make decision without prior consultation with the company involved,” said Hughes.  “All too often we find that the big corporate entities have the government in their pocket.”

Hughes urged the government to take a little more time and work with the opposition to ensure the bill is the best the Commons can create.

“It’s about patient safety, and it’s about Canadian’s Safety,” said Hughes.  “The government can go on about advertising all they want, but until they take action on some of these proposed amendments we aren’t going to get that perfect bill they are talking about.”

– NDP Press Release