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Local resident’s e-Petition on access to life-saving medicines amassed over 17,000 signatures

Chilliwack– Chilliwack resident Jocelyn James’ petition calling on the federal government to repeal changes to the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB)’s drug pricing guidelines was signed by over 17,000 Canadians.

James’ petition garnered the support of Chilliwack—Hope Member of Parliament Mark Strahl after she contacted Strahl to explain the devastating impact that a lack of access to new treatment was having on her family.

“This petition received overwhelming support from thousands of Canadians. New medicines can be a lifeline to those suffering from painful and debilitating illnesses for which conventional medicine has provided little help,” said Strahl. “Thank you to Jocelyn for creating this petition and thank you to each person who added your name, sending a message to the federal government that the changes being made to the PMPRB in Ottawa could deny Canadians access to life-changing therapies.”

The PMPRB sets drug pricing guidelines. Those guideless are set to change on July 1st, 2020 and could result in new drugs being priced below the cost of research, development and production making it impossible to bring these new medicines to Canadians.

“The current proposed regulation amendments are set to negatively affect over 3 million Canadians, leaving them without access to life-sustaining or life-changing medications,” said James. “Canadians who need new or novel medications, or those who do not respond to traditional or generic treatments will be left to suffer.”

The proposed price restrictions have already stopped some new treatments from coming to Canada. In 2019, after the release of proposed PMPRB changes, Heath Canada has seen only 15% of the new medication applications submitted to the US FDA, and the number of clinical trials started in Canada declined by 60% compared to same period in the previous four years.

“Through this petition to Parliament, I committed to working with Jocelyn to raise awareness of this issue. It’s clear that the thousands of Canadians who signed the petition share the same concerns about access to new, life-saving drug treatments,” said Strahl.

“I am truly grateful for all the support the petition has received. The numbers show that Canadians are truly concerned with the proposed changes, and how it will affect them, their loved ones, or their communities,” said James. “I hope that the federal government will see this and do everything in their power to make sure the changes are right for all Canadians before moving forward with implementation.”

The House of Commons petition e-2546 amassed 17,293 signatures from April 20, 2020 to May 20, 2020. Those interested in viewing the full text of the petition can do so at the following website: