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Health Canada seeks input on drug shortages

Health Canada is seeking input from Canadian physicians and members of the public on the current approach to notifications about drug shortages in Canada.

Addressing the problem of drug shortages has been a priority issue for the Canadian Medical Association and its specialty affiliate organizations since such shortages were identified in 2010. Many specialty groups feel the shortages of prescription drugs in Canada are so severe that they are having an impact on the delivery of appropriate patient care

“It is very important that the views of individual physicians are heard by Health Canada,” said CMA President Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti.

At its recent meeting, the CMA Board of Directors established of a Drug Shortages Working Group to develop an action plan to address the issue of the ongoing shortages. The working group will define the scope and goals of CMA advocacy efforts on this topic which has global dimensions.

A policy adopted by the CMA a year ago notes “the escalation in shortages of prescription drugs in the past few years and the ongoing disruptions to supply experienced in Canada and globally are matters of grave concern to the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and its members.”

“Currently there are more than 400 drugs listed on the Health Canada website documenting the shortages,” said Francescutti.

“While the CMA cannot resolve the complex issue of drug shortages in Canada we are committed to advocating for reducing the impact of these shortages on physicians and their patents.”

Physicians are urged to complete the online Health Canada survey consisting of nine questions on the best approach to drug shortage notification. A pdf version of the consultation is also available to those who wish to submit the survey by email or regular mail.

The deadline for completion of the survey is July 5, 2014.

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