Canada moves ahead with mandatory reporting of drug shortages

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Many Canadians have health conditions that require the ongoing use of medication. For these individuals and their families, drug shortages and discontinuances are a source of tremendous concern and anxiety.

Health Canada on Thursday moved a step closer to mandatory public reporting for drug companies experiencing shortages and discontinuances, by inviting prequalified contractors to submit proposals to develop and maintain a website for the reporting of this information.

The new website will eventually replace the current industry-run site When completed, the site will include a number of improvements from the voluntary system, such as better notification features and a mobile application. In addition, the site will also provide information for healthcare providers and patients, including shortage management toolkits and guidance materials.

During consultations, Canadians said that the current voluntary approach to reporting is not meeting their needs, and called for mandatory reporting. As a result, a regulatory proposal has been developed and consulted on with the public, and the department is working toward finalizing these regulations in summer 2016, through publication in Canada Gazette, Part II.

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During this process, Health Canada will continue to work with players from across the drug supply chain, including our provincial and territorial partners to confirm the details and status of shortages, coordinate information sharing, and identifying collaborative mitigation strategies.

This collaborative approach has already yielded many positive results. By continuing to work together, we are finding new creative ways to help ensure Canadians are able to access the medications they need when they need them.

Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, said: “We know that having timely, comprehensive, and reliable information will help Canadians make informed decisions about their health-care, and help reduce the stress that comes with threats to both short-term and longer-term availability of the medicines that they and their loved ones need.”   – CNW

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