Supply and Drug Shortages Position Statement Overview Header
  • Drug shortages place a burden on patients and healthcare providers.  Stakeholders should work together to avoid and mitigate drug shortages.  The effects of a drug shortage on a patient can range from a minor inconvenience to a major health threat.  We encourage ongoing dialogue and collaboration between all stakeholders, including Health Canada's Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee on Drug Shortages, to:
    • Help prevent the occurrence of drug shortages
    • Mitigate the harm to patients from drug shortages
    • Develop policies that lead to a more robust, sustainable pharmaceutical supply chain.
  • Pharmacists dedicate many hours to managing drug shortages for their patients.  While necessary, it detracts from the time pharmacists can spend on direct patient care.  The pharmacist's time spent on drug shortages is not compensated and should be recognized by payors.
  • Using their scope of practice for therapeutic substitution (except in Ontario, Manitoba, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories), pharmacists adjust prescriptions to therapeutic alternatives, ensuring shortages do not disrupt patient care.  All provinces should enable therapeutic substitutions by pharmacists to best support them in providing continuity of care.
  • Canada's pharmaceutical supply system is designed and carefully managed to serve our population of approximately 36 million people.  We encourage Health Canada to maintain a vigilant eye on the drug supply and take the necessary measures to prevent drug shortages.
  • Export of Canadian medications to the United States increases the risk of drug shortages and should be discouraged for this reason.  We encourage Health Canada to exercise its Interim Order powers as necessary, and for the Government of Canada to take a whole-of-government approach to prevent drug shortages cause by US importation, including border enforcement.  Canada does not have the capacity to support the drug supply needs of the United States' population.

Download the full position statement here