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Archived - Health Canada Seeks Input on Notification of Drug Shortages

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Public consultations will help assess effectiveness of current approach

Ottawa - Health Canada has launched a six week consultation period, from May 22, 2014 - July 5, 2014, to hear from patients, healthcare providers, and other Canadians on the current approach to drug shortage notification via the Drug Shortages Database industry-led website was launched in 2012 at the request of the Minister of Health to provide a go-to source of information about actual and anticipated shortages of medications.

Canadians are encouraged to participate in the online consultations at: Public Consultation on the Notification of Drug Shortages

The voluntary system has been in place for two years, and now is a good time to take stock of the current approach, to determine whether it is meeting the needs of the healthcare system and to chart the most effective path forward.  The input provided through these consultations will help Health Canada assess how well the current system is working.

Health Canada is also working with industry to improve advanced notification of anticipated drug shortages and discontinuances by drug companies. The Department has promoted co-ordinated action on critical drug shortages between Health Canada, provinces/territories, industry, and other stakeholders, to minimize their occurrence and impact. Consultations with domestic stakeholders and international regulatory counterparts will also be held.

Quick Facts

  • Drug shortages are a complex problem.  When shortages occur, the health system requires timely, reliable, and comprehensive information so that it can respond appropriately.
  • The Drug Shortages Database is an industry-led website launched in March 2012 to meet a growing need for information about supply disruptions.
  • Canadian manufacturers and importers are expected to post all anticipated and actual drug shortages and discontinuances on the Drug Shortages Database as early as possible, to allow maximum time for the healthcare system to react to the shortage.  The site continues to improve and expand.


“Drug shortages affect the whole health system. Governments, industry, healthcare providers and individual patients each have an important role to play in helping to figure out the best solutions.  These consultations will allow patients, healthcare providers and medical practitioners to share their views. Currently, the voluntary system has been successful, but we are always open to improving the system if it will benefit patients.”

Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

Associated Links

September 2013 Announcement
Drug Shortages Database
Public Consultation on the Notification of Drug Shortages



Health Canada
Media Relations
(613) 957-2983

Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Public Enquiries:
(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709

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