Canada Moving Toward Mandatory Reporting of Drug Shortages

Health Canada's outreach indicates that Canadians believe that current voluntary approach to reporting is not meeting their needs, and they called for mandatory reporting.

The Canadian government is one step closer to mandatory public reporting by drug companies of drug shortages and discontinuances, as Health Canada on May 19 invited prequalified contractors to submit proposals to develop and maintain a website for reporting that information. The new website eventually will replace the current, industry-run site and will include several improvements on the voluntary system, such as better notification features and a mobile app, information for health care providers and patients, toolkits, and guidance materials.

Health Canada notes that many Canadians have health conditions that require ongoing use of medication, and those individuals and their families are greatly concerned about drug shortages and discontinuances. Health Canada's outreach indicates that Canadians believe that current voluntary approach to reporting is not meeting their needs, and they called for mandatory reporting.

The agency is working to finalize new regulations in summer 2016 and will continue to work with stakeholders during that process.

"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," Minister of Health Jane Philpott said.

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