June 15, 1934

LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

The amendment reads:

No person or company shall import, offer for sale or sell any remedy represented by label or by advertisement to the general public as a treatment ...

And so on. Now, that is all right, but there is no definition as to what "the general public" may mean. The minister says that I may advertise it to the medical profession, but the amendment does not so indicate. I can advertise to the medical profession in various ways. I understand the minister to mean that I may take to a daily paper in Ottawa an advertisement for one of these remedies advertised as a treatment for some abnormal

physical state and have such advertisement inserted so that I would be advertising to the general public remedies for all of these abnormal physical states, provided that I put at the top, underneath or at the corner of the advertisement the words "This advertisement is directed to the medical profession only." I understand that that is the intention. I understand further that I may advertise in a so-called or genuine medical review which may be directed, as is usually the case, to the medical profession. I may advertise in the Lancet, the English periodical devoted almost exclusively to the medical profession, any of the remedies to be used as a treatment for any one of the abnormal physical states mentioned in the schedule. My own impression is that if I were to advertise in a dental or pharmaceutical review I would not be advertising to the general public. But where is the line to be drawn? What is the determining line? I cannot advertise in the daily press without the insertion of some restrictive words, but if I can advertise in a medical review, then what is a medical review? I have before me one of these reviews; I shall not mention the name of it, but in it appears an advertisement of a uric acid eliminator, a well known French product, and such specific ailments are mentioned, as gout, lithiasis, neuralgia, rheumatism, arteriosclerosis and obesity. If the bill and schedule become law in their present form, in view of the fact that this publication is not an ordinary review but is directed to the general public, the manufacturers of the product in question will have to eliminate the words "arterioolerosis and obesity." Although this remedy is not one used exclusively for these ailments, yet it is a solvent used in a case of arteriosclerosis as a uric acid eliminator and in a case of obesity as another sort of eliminator. I ask the minister this: If I put

in the advertisement the words, "This advertisement is directed to the medical profession only," may it circulate among the general public as an advertisement for arteriosclerosis and obesity?

Topic:   FOOD AND DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Murray MacLaren (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacLAREN:

If it is directed to the

medical profession, yes.

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LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

But I want to find out when it is directed to the medical profession and when it is not directed to the medical profession.

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CON

Murray MacLaren (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacLAREN:

The answer is, when

it says so-that is all.

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LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

It would have been

much better if the statute had been made clear. But if the minister states that tomorrow I may go to one of the daily papers

Food and Drugs Act

and advertise a remedy for the treatment of one or all of the ailments mentioned in the schedule, and I can do that simply by putting a line at the top of or underneath the advertisement saying, " This is directed exclusively to the medical profession " that arrangement may be all right, but I suggest it is not a proper way to do business.

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CON
LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

That is why I say there is no reason for the inclusion in the schedule of quite a large number of these so-called abnormal physical conditions. The hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. Howden), differing from other opinions which have been expressed, says that a certain number of these ailments are not abnormal physical states. They should be excluded. The difficulty is that one cannot advertise to the general public any one of these remedies as a treatment for the abnormal physical states mentioned in the schedule. But I want to know where I can do it. I believe I have made myself clear.

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CON

Murray MacLaren (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacLAREN:

Wherever you consider

it to your advantage, that is the answer. There are medical journals without number, and there are periodicals and, if you wish, the press. This amendment is intended not to be extreme but to be a moderate measure, and not to go too far in advance of general opinion. Therefore an advertisement to the profession is allowed or allowable in any form you wish.

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LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

I intimated to the committee this afternoon that I thought this legislation was to a great extent farcical. Many forms of disease are mentioned for which no one would think of advertising cures before the general public. So far as those forms of disease are concerned, I believe we may put them out of our minds; we do not need to go over them again. In the case of quite a number, however, there is potential danger in druggists or proprietary people advertising remedies. All these particular forms of disease I have in mind certainly require the attention of a skilled physician. However, to my mind the whole discussion circles around the one disease which I discussed at length this afternoon and in connection with which we as medical men have had but scant success in the matter of treatment. The amendment states:

No person or company shall import, offer for sale or sell any remedy represented by label or by advertisement to the general public ...

And so on. We know of one firm at least which has been successful in treating by mail a malady in the treatment of which medical men have had very little or no success. A number of people throughout the dominion are suffering from that disease, and at the present time they are apprehensive that this legislation will remove from them the possibility of obtaining the medicine for the relief of their condition. The amendment plainly says that this medicine shall not be advertised to the public. How then shall other victims who will suffer from this disease in the future be relieved, or how will they be informed of the fact that there is a remedy that can relieve them? If the remedy cannot be advertised I do not see how they can learn about it.

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CON
LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

It is true that there are a lot of good medical men, but there are a few conditions that medical men have not been able to control entirely, and this is one of them.

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CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Do you want the sufferers to go to quacks?

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LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

I have no interest whatever in any quack company or quack doctor, but if any quack doctor is able to give relief for a condition where I cannot give relief, I say more power to him.

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CON
LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

I have met many cases,

and for that reason I say without hesitation that if this legislation is enforced it will be positively unfair to a number of epileptics in this dominion. I have no personal interest in any epileptic but I like to see people in any such condition treated fairly and given a chance; for it is well known that if the disease is allowed to run on for a number of years without relief it affects the mind and the sufferer becomes feebleminded.

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CON

Murray MacLaren (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacLAREN:

I had intended to wait until we reached the schedule before saying anything with reference to any of the diseases listed, but I feel I should not delay, and that I should say something about epilepsy.

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LIB
CON

Murray MacLaren (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacLAREN:

I have had communications and reports on different diseases, and recently I have received from members of parliament and others a considerable number of letters with reference to the administration

[DOT]1030

Food and Drugs Act

of a certain remedy for epilepsy. So far as I can tell, and I think this applies to all of them, they originated at the request of a medical firm in Chicago, the Western Medical Corporation. I should like to read this communication to the house. It is a letter on the heading of the Western Medical Corporation, and the directing physician is Harry L. James, MU. The letter is dated May 25, 1934, and this particular letter is addressed to a lady. It reads:

Dear Miss,-

Do you know that a new Canadian law has been proposed to make it impossible for you to obtain treatment for epilepsy attacks except through a physician? This means that you could not buy medicines from any concern in the United States or in Canada for epilepsy attacks.

I think that is correct so far as it goes. It is correct if it were labelled; it is not correct if there were no labels on it. The letter continues:

This matter was brought to our attention by one of our Canadian customers who was greatly disturbed at the possibility of not being able to obtain our medicines should the bill be passed. We refer to the bill sponsored by the Hon. Doctor Murray MacLaren, Minister of Pensions and National Health, now in its second reading.

It occurred to me that all of our Canadian patients might not be aware of this impending legislation. Therefore I suggest that if you feel the passage of this bill might seriously affect you because you could no longer obtain medicines from us, it would no doubt be a good plan to write to your representative in the dominion House of Commons

That has been duly done.

-asking that the disease epilepsy be removed from the list. You might also add that you consider it a grave injustice to be forced to go to a local physician for treatment.

Immediate action is no doubt necessary if you are to cause the removal of the disease epilepsy from the list of diseases contained in the bill.

Will you let us hear from you as to what answer your representative gives you?

Sincerely,

Harry L. James, M.D.,

Directing Physician.

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CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

What is

the name of the company?

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CON

Murray MacLaren (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacLAREN:

The Western Medical

Corporation. So far as I am aware, all the letters and copies of letters that have reached me or the department have been sent on the invitation of the Western Medical Corporation through their directing physician.

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June 15, 1934