Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former MP Wants Philpott to Intervene in Department Handling of Drug Safety Law

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former MP Wants Philpott to Intervene in Department Handling of Drug Safety Law

Article excerpt

Former MP wants Philpott to act on drug law

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OTTAWA - Former Conservative MP Terence Young is calling for Health Minister Jane Philpott to personally review her department's handling of a law that bears his daughter's name -- a request supported by both opposition parties.

Young says a robust drug safety bill -- called Vanessa's Law -- cleared the House of Commons and Senate without dissent but he now believes Health Canada is quietly looking to dilute its powers in related regulations.

He points to consultation documents from the department this summer as evidence of this, suggesting key requirements in the law -- including mandatory adverse drug reaction reporting by health care institutions -- are being "gutted."

Philpott cannot allow this to happen, he said.

"I would tell her she's got to intervene and tell Health Canada 'I want all serious drug reactions that happen in Canada','' Young said. "I would tell her if you don't do this, you are going to set us back 10 years on prescription drug safety."

For Young, who lost his seat in 2015, the issue is personal: he's spent years advocating for improved drug safety laws following the death of his 15-year old daughter after she took a medication to treat a mild form of an eating disorder.

He said when the legislation became law in November 2014, he was "naive" that this would be the end of his fight.

"I thought, 'OK, my battle is over, I've achieved this'," he said. "They have dishonoured the person the bill is named after, 15-year-old Vanessa Young."

Conservative health critic Colin Carrie agrees his former colleague has raised legitimate concerns, saying the minister needs to take a close look at what is going on in her department. …

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