Ministers of Health Announce Early Achievements to Help Reduce the Impact of Drug Shortages

Providing Canadians with the information they need

Marketwired

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Sep 13, 2013) - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, the Honourable Fred Horne, Minister of Health for Alberta, with members of the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee on Drug Shortages, today announced a national protocol for the public notification of drug shortages and a toolkit that identifies steps that can be taken to prevent and reduce the impact of drug shortages.

The protocol and toolkit are designed to put the health and safety of Canadian patients first when communicating about drug shortages.

"Our government understands the potential impact of drug shortages," said Minister Ambrose. "We are taking action and working together with all stakeholders across the healthcare system. This announcement reinforces that all levels of government and all parts of the supply chain have a role to play in communicating, addressing and preventing shortages."

Today's announcement will give doctors, pharmacists, health care practitioners and all stakeholders clear and concise information on drug shortages, so they can make the best decisions for their patients.

"This partnership really represents a new way of addressing drugs shortages that recognizes both the complexity of the issues, and the necessity of involving key players all the way along - from industry to governments to health care providers to patients," said Minister Horne. "This is essential because none of us has the capacity to resolve interruptions in supply of medications on our own."

Announced today is a protocol and toolkit that was created from the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee on Drug Shortages (MSCC). The Protocol for the Notification and Communication of Drug Shortages sets out clear expectations for how and when stakeholders across the supply chain share information about drug shortages. The toolkit identifies measures across the supply chain to prevent and reduce the impact of drug shortages.

For example:

  • Manufacturers will post all drug shortages, anticipated or actual, on www.drugshortages.ca, at the earliest possible date, to allow maximum opportunity for the healthcare system to react to the shortage;

  • Provide available information on alternatives that could be used for patients;

  • Communicate the anticipated duration of the drug shortage.

These are just a few examples from the protocol and toolkit that will help healthcare practitioners, governments and industry to better coordinate and inform Canadians.

The protocol and toolkit are being shared via the www.drugshortages.ca website. The site is a comprehensive source of drug shortage information launched by industry in 2012. This website ensures that information about drug shortages is readily available. This information is being used by health professionals and governments to facilitate measures to manage drug supplies effectively on behalf of Canadians.

Jim Keon, President of CGPA, said, "Our members are committed to providing Canadians with timely information regarding the availability of needed drugs. These new tools are an important measure to enhance information sharing on all aspects of the pharmaceutical supply chain."

Jared Rhines, Vice President, Scientific and Strategic Affairs, of Rx&D, said, "We applaud Health Canada's leadership in addressing the many challenges associated with drug shortages. As an industry committed to Canadian patients and their safety, we are proud to support these efforts, which are recognized not only here in Canada, but around the world."

Jeff Morrison, of the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) stated in support of the announcement: "Pharmacists are on the front lines and see how drug shortages can negatively impact patients. Tools like these will help to improve coordination to resolve shortages quicker and provide pharmacists an early heads up so we can adapt care based on the availability of medicines."

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FACT SHEET

Drug Shortages Protocol and Tool Kit

Drug shortages are a complex, global problem. Recognizing that drug shortages can have a significant impact on patients, the Government of Canada has called upon all stakeholders across the health care system to work together.

In 2012, the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta launched the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee on Drug Shortages (MSSC), bringing together federal/provincial/territorial governments, industry, group purchasing organizations, distributors and health professional associations to advance collaborative work on drug shortages. The work of the MSSC focuses on addressing three priority areas:

  • prevention;

  • notification and communication; and,

  • mitigation and crisis management.

Today, a Protocol and Toolkit were announced that will help to prevent and mitigate the impacts of drug shortages.

The MSSC Protocol for the Notification and Communication of Drug Shortages sets out clear expectations for how and when stakeholders across the supply chain share information about drug shortages.

The Multi-Stakeholder Toolkit describes the Canadian drug supply chain, clarifies roles and responsibilities of key players, and identifies the tools and strategies available to prevent and address drug shortages.

Both documents and additional information are available on the website: www.drugshortages.ca . The site is a comprehensive source of drug shortage information launched by industry in 2012 with investments from Canadas Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) and the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) to ensure that information about drug supply disruptions is readily available. This information is being used by health professionals and governments to facilitate measures to manage drug supplies effectively on behalf of Canadians.

The site is updated regularly by manufacturers with information about actual or potential shortages of medications, whether alternatives are available, and where to obtain them. This information is being used by health professionals and governments to facilitate measures to manage drug supplies effectively on behalf of Canadians.

The committee will build on its momentum and progress, by continuing to work collaboratively with all key players to enhance drug shortage notification and communication, demand greater transparency and accountability of industry, and take additional action on preventing and reducing the occurrence and impacts of drug supply disruptions.

MSSC Member Organizations:

  • Health Canada (co-chair)

  • Alberta Health (co-chair)

  • Canadian Pharmacists Association

  • Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association

  • HealthPRO

  • Canadian Research Based Pharmaceutical Companies

  • MEDBUY

  • Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores

  • Canadian Association of Pharmacy Distribution Management

  • Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists

  • Canada's Agency for Drug and Technologies in Health

  • BIOTECanada

  • Canadian Medical Association

Contact:
Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200
Matthew Grant
Press Secretary, Alberta Health
780-422-9003
To call toll-free (within Alberta) 310-0000
Matthew.S.Grant@gov.ab.ca
Health Canada
Media Relations
(613) 957-2983
Public Inquiries:
(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709

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