Pharmaceutical industry executives who mislead the public could soon face fines of up to $5 million or two years in jail in Canada. According to a Canadian government press release, a bill that dramatically strengthens the government’s powers to regulate prescription drugs has passed through the House of Commons and is going to the Senate. The bill has been spearheaded by Member of Parliament Terence Young, who told the Commons his goal is to stop “the aggressive over-marketing of drugs, the misleading sales pitches, and the covering up of harms that victimize patients.” Young wrote the book Death by Prescription about his daughter’s death from the drug Prepulsid, which she was given to treat a mild eating disorder.
“The facts of this tragedy shock every lay-person who hears them,” Young said in his speech to the House of Commons about his daughter’s death. “Yet I was to quickly discover the insiders: doctors, researchers, and people at Big Pharma were never shocked. They knew all along that potentially life threatening drugs were being pushed on patients with non-life threatening conditions, as the drug business had become all about Wall St. And they were all benefiting financially, big time.”
“Vanessa’s Law” gives the government “the power to recall unsafe drugs, impose stiff financial penalties, and require mandatory adverse reaction reporting by healthcare facilities,” says the government press release. It will also “enhance transparency concerning Health Canada’s regulatory decisions, information regarding clinical trials, and the scope of confidential business information and disclosure.”
House of Commons adopts government strengthened patient safety legislation (Press Release, Government of Canada, June 16, 2014)
Bill C-17 An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (Parliament of Canada)
Death by Prescription (book by Terence Young)
March 28, 2014 – Terence Endorses Vanessa’s Law in the House of Commons (Transcript of Speech to House of Commons, Terence Young)