Canada needs national plan to protect drug supply, prevent shortages
TORONTO -- An editorial jointly published in two medical journals says Canada needs a national plan to manage the country’s prescription drug supply to deal with ongoing medication shortages.
Canada has been experiencing unpredictable shortages of many critical medications, among them chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics and anesthetics.
The editorial argues that Ottawa should make it mandatory for pharmaceutical companies to report impending drug shortages instead of relying on a voluntary system.
CMAJ deputy editor Dr. Matthew Stanbrook says after the U.S. made reporting mandatory last fall, drug shortages were cut in half within months.
The authors also argue that Canada’s national emergency drug stockpile should be expanded, and regulations should require that there be a minimum of two suppliers for all essential drugs.
“It is ridiculous and intolerable that a wealthy, developed nation like Canada cannot reliably provide medicines to its people,” write Stanbrook and Rosemary Killeen, editor-in-chief of the Pharmacists journal.