Steven James of Chilliwack, on Feb. 10, 2020.

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

A nationwide petition initiated by a Chilliwack mom about getting access to life-saving medicines has amassed more than 17,000 signatures in one month.

The House of Commons e-petition initiated by Jocelyn James on behalf of her son, Steven, called on the federal government to repeal changes to the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board’s (PMPRB) drug-pricing guidelines.

The campaign that closed on May 20 drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl after he heard from James about the devastating impact that lack of access to new treatment was having on her family.

READ MORE: E-petition launched from Chilliwack

They now hope it will lead to action on the federal stage since tens of thousands of Canadians agreed with James about the regulatory process around approving new medicines.

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

James wants the federal reps to think twice now, and said she is “truly grateful” for the support.

“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,” James said.

The MP also saw the merit.

“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 their 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.”

“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.

Steven, the 16-year-old son of James, loves playing hockey, soccer and being a referee. He also struggles with cystic fibrosis (CF).

“He’s one of the people dramatically affected by this,” James said, estimating that these regulatory changes will impact more than three million Canadians.

Up until the age of 13, Steven was relatively healthy and running track competitively, as well as playing other sports, but saw a decline in the wake of a lung infection a few years ago, his mom told The Progress.

One of the meds currently unavailable in Canada has “revolutionized” treatment for CF patients elsewhere. Becoming known as a “CF wonder drug,” Trikafta is one such medicine.

But this new class of meds, known as “modulators” won’t get approval under the rules, even though they are designed to correct the malfunction in the gene, not just treat the symptoms of CF.

In 2019, after the release of proposed PMPRB changes, Heath Canada has seen only 15 per cent of the new medication applications submitted to the US FDA, and the number of clinical trials started in Canada declined by 60 per cent compared to same period in the previous four years.

The House of Commons petition e-2546 amassed 17,293 signatures from April 20, 2020 to May 20, 2020. See the full text of the petition:

https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2546

READ MORE: U.S. watches as Canada overhauls drug-pricing


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

House of CommonsPatented Drugs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Granisle receives $4.3 million funding for Wastewater Treatment plant upgrade

The village will finally get to upgrade the 49 years old plant

Spirit North Burns Lake conducting canoe, paddle board camp for indigenous kids

Rachelle van Zanten, the Community Program Director for the Burns Lake area… Continue reading

Chinook Community Forest holds open house and BBQ in Burns Lake

Chinook Community Forest held their annual open house and BBQ at the… Continue reading

Burns Lake’s much awaited Splash Park almost ready

The Radley Beach Splash Park is 95 per cent ready. According to… Continue reading

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Canada ‘profoundly concerned’ over China death sentence for citizen in drug case

Police later confiscated more than 120 kilograms of the drug from Xu Weihong’s home

Answers to 5 common questions facing families for the COVID-19 school year

COVID-19 protocols are likely to vary even more at the school board level, and even and school-to-school.

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Most Read