Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association

CPhA calls for action to resolve supply chain disruptions that lead to drug shortages

October 2, 2018 (Ottawa): The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) continues to be concerned about the growing number of drug shortages in Canada. While drug shortages are an unfortunate daily reality for pharmacists, the scale and number of shortages and recalls that we have seen over the last few months have resulted in patient confusion and distress, and placed an important spotlight on some of the gaps and challenges in Canada’s drug supply.

With today’s statement from Health Canada indicating that it is halting the importation of certain drugs sourced from Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals, we believe it is time for Health Canada, stakeholders from the health community, patients and manufacturers to come together to identify potential long-term solutions.

Manufacturing and supply chain issues similar to those raised with this particular manufacturer can often lead to and exacerbate drug shortages, which are increasingly prevalent in Canada and can compromise the safe and effective delivery of patient care. Pharmacists work hard to minimize the effects of shortages by finding alternative drug therapies that are safe and appropriate for each patient. However, we need further supports. The reactive measures we have in place for dealing with each drug shortage as it arises do not help in mitigating shortages before they happen.

We are, therefore, calling on the federal government and Health Canada to convene a national meeting of key stakeholders with the goal of developing clear and actionable solutions to help resolve the problem of manufacturing and supply chain disruptions that lead to drug shortages. For the benefit of all Canadians, we must take action to protect our drug supply and minimize the occurrence of shortages in Canada.

CPhA continues to work closely with Health Canada, our members and pharmacy partners to ensure that pharmacists across Canada have the tools they need to support patients amid these uncertainties and ensure that their drug therapy is not disrupted.