Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Medical Isotopes

Hon. Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul’s, Lib.):  

    Mr. Speaker, last week, when the supply of medical isotopes was at 10%, Lantheus negotiated a supply deal with Israel to get doctors the isotopes they need to diagnose and treat their patients. This request was turned down by Health Canada.


    Could the Minister of Health explain why Health Canada has turned this essential supply down and why two and a half years after this crisis began, we still have yet to have a secure supply of medical isotopes for Canadian patients?


Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of Health, CPC)

    Mr. Speaker, as I have said before in the House, we are dealing with a global shortage of TC99. We have been working with the medical community in Canada to look at alternatives to TC99 to mitigate the impact of the global shortage of supply.


    We continue to work with the international community and encourage the medical community to apply for a special access program so that the supply of TC99 can be made available in Canada.



Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds—Dollard, Lib.):  

    Mr. Speaker, as a doctor, I have a question for the Prime Minister. Health Canada has a program for health professionals under which all Canadian hospitals can import isotopes from Israel as long as Lantheus, a company accredited by Health Canada, carries out quality control. However, this kind of piecemeal approach is impossible to manage.



    Why does the government not issue blanket authorization to import generators from France, as it did in 2008?



Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of Health, CPC)

    Mr. Speaker, the supply of medical isotopes is a global issue and a challenge for all of us in Canada. We have been working with the international community for a year and a half in looking for alternatives to TC99 and approving products for Canada for TC99 when it is available.



    We encourage the medical community to submit an application to Health Canada under the special access program and those applications are reviewed within a matter of days.