Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association

Federal parties remain silent as drug shortages grow. More than 129 new shortages since election called

October 7, 2019 (Ottawa): Halfway through the election campaign and no federal parties have addressed the growing issue of drug shortages. In that same time, more than 129 new drug shortages have been reported to Drug Shortages Canada – our country’s mandatory reporting website.

“While many parties have started to announce their health-related commitments, it’s troubling that none of the parties have even mentioned drug shortages – an issue that has affected 1 in 4 Canadians,” said Christine Hrudka, Chair, Canadian Pharmacists Association. “We need real action on this issue, and it should be a priority in this election.”

The Canadian Pharmacists Association is calling on all federal parties to commit to working with us on a comprehensive action plan to address drug shortages that includes research into the causes and solutions of drug supply issues, leadership on the international stage to enact tangible solutions and supports for frontline health care providers who are struggling to manage supply disruptions.  

“Sadly, when I hear that there have been over 129 new shortages reported in the 26 days that candidates have been out knocking on doors, I am not at all surprised by how high that number is. As a pharmacist, drug shortages have become a daily reality, a common occurrence that we do our best to manage and lessen the health impact on our patients,” added Hrudka.

Most pharmacists are reporting that drug shortages have increased in the last 3-5 years, with the vast majority (79%) indicating that shortages have ‘greatly increased.’ More than two thirds of pharmacists (67%) deal with drug shortages daily or multiple times a day. Pharmacists estimate that managing drug shortages can occupy up to 20% of their shift, or up to 2 hours of a standard 10-hour shift.

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 urge all federal parties to make this issue a priority and outline a plan to engage pharmacists and other experts to work towards ensuring Canada has a stable drug supply as part of its overall pharmaceutical policies. This is especially urgent considering U.S. plans to import Canadian medications, which could exacerbate shortages.

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About the Canadian Pharmacists Association
The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is the uniting national voice of pharmacy and the pharmacist profession in Canada. As pharmacists undertake an enhanced role in the delivery of health care services, CPhA ensures that the profession is recognized as a national leader in health care, influencing the policies, programs, budgets and initiatives affecting the profession and the health of Canadians