I've had the privilege of being the health critic for the New Democrats since 2015. I remember this vividly, but I went and pulled it anyway. It's the mandate letter that Prime Minister Trudeau gave to Health Minister Jane Philpott. It says, from 2015, “I will expect you to work with your colleagues...to deliver on your top priorities:...improve access to necessary prescription medicines. This will include...reducing the cost Canadian governments pay for these drugs, making them more affordable for Canadians”.
Anecdotally, it's been my experience that there's been no appreciable increase in access to prescriptions nor have prices come down, but I didn't rely on that. I went to CIHI and I asked them about a month ago to tell me what happened with drug prices in Canada from 2015 to 2019. What I found was that they've gone up every single year, both in a global way and on a per capita basis. In fact, drugs were 8.6% more expensive in 2019 than they were in 2015.
What's puzzling to me is that in 2016 the Liberal government first announced its intention to reform Canada's patented medicines regulations in order to lower the price of prescription drugs for Canadians. We know that your government estimated this would lower drug prices by $13 billion over 10 years, and your government announced that they were meant to come into force by January 1, 2019. That still hasn't happened.
Minister, given that prescription drug costs have gone up every single year since the Liberals took office in 2015, why is your government delaying these necessary reforms?