May 9th, 2012
Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. As you all know, multiple sclerosis is the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in Canada. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40 years of age, and the unpredictable effects of MS last for the rest of their lives.
There is groundbreaking research being undertaken in more than 50 countries around the world in the area of CCSVI for MS patients. Indeed, venous angioplasty is being done in over 50 countries in the world. Unfortunately, Canada is not one of them. These studies have shown measurable results in relieving symptoms for those suffering from MS through the improvement of blood flow to and from the brain. Enough evidence exists that we need to look at this treatment more closely and to figure out what is valid and what is not regarding our understanding of CCSVI and MS. Canada owes this to the thousands of Canadians and their families who are afflicted with this disease. Canada should be contributing to this research with our own Phase II clinical trials.
Honourable senators, we need the science. We need the "made in Canada" evidence.
It has been almost a year since the federal government announced it would begin the long process to allow clinical trials here in Canada, but their efforts have fallen far short of what is required and progress is at a standstill.
The MS registry was announced in March 2011 by Health Minister Aglukkaq, and yet information will not be collected until September 2012. We will have lost 18 months of data.
Just as member of Parliament Kirsty Duncan has been doing in the House of Commons, I have been working to raise consciousness about MS in the Senate with my Senate private member's bill, Bill S-204, which seeks to establish a national strategy for CCSVI, and with my inquiry on MS and CCSVI.
As this is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, I urge honourable senators to examine closely the issue of MS and CCSVI so that one day in the near future, Canadian MS patients can benefit from "made in Canada" research and treatment. Honourable senators, talk to those who have MS and listen to their concerns. Canadian MS patients should not be forced to travel to the United States, Europe, Mexico or Poland to be cared for and treated for MS. Canadians expect, and rightfully so, to be treated and cared for in Canada by Canadian doctors. Our government should not be promoting medical tourism.