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

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

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating Mackenzie Courchene, a Langford teenager.
MISSING: Mackenzie Courchene last seen in Langford on March 2

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating the Langford teenager

Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)
Esquimalt blazes new trail toward modern public safety building

Township using alternative approval process for first time to gauge public support for proposal

Landmarks such as Howard the giant gnome at Galey's Farm in Saanich make a stunning backdrop for celebratory dance in the Greater Victoria Festival Society trailer for its coming Dance Victoria campaign. (Screeshot/Greater Victoria Festival Society)
Residents’ videos help campaign Dance Across Victoria

Celebratory dance clips to be compiled into Greater Victoria Festival Society video

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read