Don BOUDRIA

BOUDRIA, The Hon. Don, P.C., B.A.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Glengarry--Prescott--Russell (Ontario)
Birth Date
August 30, 1949
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Boudria
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=efec68a7-e1fd-490f-8b6a-95313440440c&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
public servant, purchasing agent

Parliamentary Career

September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
LIB
  Glengarry--Prescott--Russell (Ontario)
November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
LIB
  Glengarry--Prescott--Russell (Ontario)
  • Deputy Whip of the Liberal Party (December 1, 1988 - January 29, 1991)
  • Liberal Party Deputy House Leader (September 1, 1990 - November 1, 1993)
  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition (January 30, 1991 - November 1, 1993)
October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
LIB
  Glengarry--Prescott--Russell (Ontario)
  • Liberal Party Deputy House Leader (September 1, 1990 - November 1, 1993)
  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition (January 30, 1991 - November 1, 1993)
  • Chief Government Whip's assistant (November 4, 1993 - September 26, 1994)
  • Deputy Whip of the Liberal Party (November 4, 1993 - September 26, 1994)
  • Chief Government Whip (September 15, 1994 - October 4, 1996)
  • Whip of the Liberal Party (September 15, 1994 - October 4, 1996)
  • Minister responsible for La Francophonie (October 4, 1996 - June 10, 1997)
  • Minister for International Cooperation (October 4, 1996 - June 10, 1997)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  Glengarry--Prescott--Russell (Ontario)
  • Minister responsible for La Francophonie (October 4, 1996 - June 10, 1997)
  • Minister for International Cooperation (October 4, 1996 - June 10, 1997)
  • Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (June 11, 1997 - January 14, 2002)
  • Liberal Party House Leader (September 22, 1997 - January 14, 2002)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
LIB
  Glengarry--Prescott--Russell (Ontario)
  • Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (June 11, 1997 - January 14, 2002)
  • Liberal Party House Leader (September 22, 1997 - January 14, 2002)
  • Minister of Public Works and Government Services (January 15, 2002 - May 25, 2002)
  • Liberal Party House Leader (May 26, 2002 - December 11, 2003)
  • Minister of State (Without Portfolio) (May 26, 2002 - December 11, 2003)
  • Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (May 26, 2002 - December 11, 2003)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
LIB
  Glengarry--Prescott--Russell (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 1683)


November 1, 2005

Hon. Don Boudria (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, Lib.)

Mr. Chair, I am pleased to take part in this evening's debate on Internet pharmacies.

Most hon. members would agree that I have been raising these issues in the House of Commons for a very long time. During the first year after I left cabinet, perhaps even longer ago than that, I was the only member to raise these issues in the House of Commons.

Many things still trouble me. I want to thank the parliamentary secretary and the minister for the plan they presented this evening, which is the first component in creating a drug supply network. This plan was overseen by the Minister of Health. It was a very good idea. We have to ensure the safety of the supply.

The second point is the need for enabling legislation under the Food and Drugs Act that would allow the Government of Canada to prohibit the bulk export of prescription drugs and other essential drugs when the health of Canadians is at stake. The hon. member for Hochelaga mentioned the section under NAFTA that is somewhat related to all this. At least this could be one of the reasons why that section was drafted that way. I intend to discuss this with the minister.

The third point consists in giving more teeth to the current provisions whereby any purchase or sale of prescription drugs should come as a result of consultations held between the patient and the medical practitioner. We must address this issue.

I heard a Conservative member in the House say that it is only those who have an axe to grind who think that the Internet prescription system damages the health care system. I believe I am paraphrasing the way the member put it.

However, Canadian Medical Association's statement on Internet prescribing in 2004 stated that “It is not acceptable for a physician to sign a prescription without properly assessing the patient”, except as indicated above, and there is a whole matrix of how this is to be done, and so on and so forth. This is the position of the Canadian Medical Association, hardly a group with an axe to grind.

Other people are also concerned with this whole business of prescriptions over the Internet in the kind of vacuum that we see now. Let me name a few from a press release that I have which dates back a year ago. I am sure the list is much longer now. It includes: the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities; the Canadian Pharmacists Association; the Canadian Medical Association and I just quoted from its report; the Association of Deans of Pharmacy of Canada; the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, would you believe, Mr. Speaker; the Manitoba Society of Seniors; Pharmacy Alliance for Canadians; and the Coalition for Manitoba Pharmacy.

Even within those jurisdictions, where these kinds of sales are going on in a very big way, certainly it is not supported by everyone there. The professionals in the health care sector say that this is going too far and that it is wrong. It is not me, not the member for Glengarry--Prescott--Russell. I am not a member of the Canadian Medical Association, much less the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, a province 1,000 miles from my constituency.

On top of that there is a whole number of pharmacies themselves, groups of seniors, and a large number of people, consumer groups and others who tell us that we have to be careful with all of this. They include: the Canadian Hepatitis C Network, Canadian Treatment Action Council, Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance, Best Medicines Coalition, Manitoba Epilepsy Association, British Columbia Persons With AIDS Society. Those are all consumers of medicine who are worried about this.

One cannot say that every single one of these organizations is wrong. Their concerns are legitimate when we start seeing runs on various products, whether they are caused by bulk sales which arguably of course is worse, or whether they are caused by Internet pharmacies all of a sudden selling thousands of prescriptions in an area where they were not selling any the previous year.

I read one example of 175,000 prescriptions where in the previous year only 10 doses of the same thing were sold. No one can say that increasing the sale of something and removing a product from this country where 10 units were removed last year and 175,000 were removed in a few months of this year, that it does not cause a shortage.

It is ridiculous to pretend that. That is not a bulk shipment at all. This has to do with the Internet pharmacies. Then someone says that the Internet pharmacies, after having seen the damage that they have done, have decided that they are not going to do this any more for a little while. That is hardly a redeeming value. Once one creates a mess and then says that one is not going to participate in the mess that one has created for a little while, to me is not good enough.

This is why I think that part of the program announced to us by the parliamentary secretary this evening is so vital, that is, when he says the government wants to establish a system whereby it will be possible to pinpoint one particular medication and say that is it, it is in the national interest that people not be allowed to send any more of this out of the country, whether it is bulk shipment, Internet pharmacies or anybody else, because it threatens the health of Canadians. That is why we are here.

To me, that is why it is so important. We cannot think of medication as little pills that look like candies, even though they do look like that most of the time. This is a very important component of the Canadian health care system. A member of my family is at home right now with pneumonia. She will be angry with me for raising this, but so be it. The prescription costs $100. I thought that was outrageously expensive, except that after three or four days of taking the medication she is getting better. Then what I thought was that about two hours in the hospital would have consumed twice as much as the $100. Maybe if we think of it that way, the medication, which we all think is too expensive, is not expensive if we compare it to the alternative.

The point I am making is how important all of this is for the well-being of Canadians. Prescription medication in particular is so very vital. I am leaving for South America with the Prime Minister in 48 hours to attend the Summit of the Americas, at least I think I am. I need to have a flu shot and a number of things before I leave. They are all provided to us. Countless other Canadians need medication: preventive, a vaccine, as I am going to get, and for treatment, in the case of others who are ill. We just cannot afford to be out of these products at any time. That is why I encourage the minister, as I have been doing for a long time, to be vigilant on this.

I thank the parliamentary secretary and the minister, too, of course. I listened attentively to the parliamentary secretary's presentation. He simply must continue on that track and be even more vigilant in protecting the health of Canadians.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cross-Border Drug Sales
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November 1, 2005

Hon. Don Boudria (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, Lib.)

Madam Chair, I almost cannot believe what I am hearing this evening. It is a total negation of the facts as they have happened.

The hon. member on the one hand said that he is against the bulk shipments, but then he spent the rest of his speech defending the Internet pharmacies as somehow being virtuous in this country. For more than a year the hon. member will know that I was the only member of this House who raised the issue of Internet pharmacies and their threat to the Canadian health care system. I thank the minister who is sitting nearby for his attention to this issue. This has been a very difficult issue for the minister to manage. He has done an absolutely outstanding job thus far and I am sure he will continue to do important work in this area.

The hon. member knows, as I do, that groups representing the disabled across Canada, groups representing the elderly, the Canadian Medical Association, pharmacists in his own province have denounced the Internet pharmacies and the member, in the face of one of his own colleagues who spoke a little earlier, defends that whole industry.

In the case of Tamiflu, it is absolutely unbelievable. Let me share this article with the House:

Online, demand by individuals is skyrocketing. “It's crazy,” says Mark Catroppa, a vice president with CanadaMedicineShop.com in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Guess what they do for a living. The company has about 175,000 U.S. customers. That is 175,000 doses of medicine destined for Canadians going across the border to the United States, a product that we know we will need and do not have enough of. How can the hon. member defend that? How can he say that this is legitimate, that this is right, that this is virtuous somehow, when everything that all of us really know is that it is wrong and it is threatening the future of health care probably more than any other issue in this country?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cross-Border Drug Sales
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November 1, 2005

Hon. Don Boudria

That is also out of order.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cross-Border Drug Sales
Full View Permalink

November 1, 2005

Hon. Don Boudria

Mr. Chair, I do not agree with many of the points the member raised except that he has said he might like to read my book. I agree with that.

More seriously, though, the hon. member says there is no evidence of job shortages. We have had countless press conferences in this building with pharmacists, pharmacist associations, and members of the Canadian Medical Association. I have a letter here from the Canadian Treatment Action Council listing 132 drugs that were not available in one part of the country at one point in time, and so on. Many people inform us or at least allege that these shortages or at least strains on the supply in various regions of the country are going on right now.

The hon. member says that the authority is with the federal government in the U.S. and it is illegal to bulk ship into the United States. He referred to that slightly in this most recent presentation and more extensively a little while ago. I was listening.

What he does not say, though, is that both are forbidden to enter the United States. Internet pharmacies that send cases of stuff to 100 different people or bulk ship 10 cases of stuff to one person are equally forbidden. If the argument is that we should not be sending bulk stuff to the U.S. because it is against U.S. law, I take the hon. member's argument at face value. They are both forbidden. Why would we say that we should listen to U.S. law as it applies to bulk sales but not to the other? I think the argument is the same for both. That is the point I am making here.

I am going to go back to something I heard in the parliamentary secretary's discourse a while ago. If we are having a run on a product, and never mind the U.S. law for a minute, whether that run is caused by someone having shipped cases in bulk to the United States or it is like the other case that I talked about a while ago, with 175,000 prescriptions in one year being shipped individually out of Canada to the U.S., the effect is the same. That was in an area where there was only a handful of them a year ago.

The effect is the same. That is the point I am making. To say that it is only the bulk sale component is not so. In my view, both have to be addressed. That is why I think the government's plan is on the right track. I urge the government, though, to move expeditiously on this issue, not to wait until we have a major crisis and run out of something and then have Canadians getting sick because we do not have the medication in question.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cross-Border Drug Sales
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November 1, 2005

Hon. Don Boudria

Mr. Chair, I think the parliamentary secretary is totally correct. My approach to all this has been to focus on the issues that are important. They are not always the same ones that we see in the news.

For instance, about a year ago cameras were going gangbusters because there were two buses in Toronto with senior citizens getting out of the buses and coming from the U.S. to buy prescription drugs. It made for some great camera shots. At the same time, with one Internet pharmacy supplying 2,000 prescriptions a day we would have had to have a train about 20 miles long to accommodate that number of people if they had all come individually. Obviously that does not make much of a camera shot. A computer terminal just does not do it.

At the same time, it is not the busload that is the issue. Nor is it grandma who is in Florida going to see a doctor there because she is there for the winter. We have the doctor there confirming with the doctor in Canada that it is the grandma known by the doctor in Canada, that she is sick with that particular disorder, and that the doctor recognizes her and sees her all the time when she is back home. Then the doctor over there issues a prescription or some such instrument across the border.

That is not the issue. Nobody is trying to solve that so-called problem because it is not one. The real problem is that which affects the security of our drug supply and that is how I believe we have to address the problem.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cross-Border Drug Sales
Full View Permalink