November 19th, 2013

NDP calls for mandatory disclosure of drug shortages

Bill C-523 would save Canadian health costs and better protect public health

Drug shortages have become a major problem in Canada – and costly headache for provinces – but an NDP MP is proposing a bill that will address this problem.

“This legislation can provide health professionals with the crucial notification they need to plan treatment for their patients during drug shortages,” said NDP MP Djaouida Sellah (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert).

“We cannot afford to stop a given medication overnight because of an unexpected drug shortage. Whether it’s medication for epilepsy, cancer treatment, or pain management, health professionals need time to plan a safe transition.”

Many health experts support the NDP’s initiative, including the College of Physicians – who have been recommending the government require drug companies to inform Health Canada of drug shortages and, according to the College, “are heartened to see our recommendations to the federal government reflected in Bill C-523.”

“Too often the health and treatment of Canadians is jeopardized by sudden unforeseen drug shortages,” said Sellah. “Sadly, the federal government has been unwilling to require mandatory disclosure from industry. My bill will address this gap.”