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06/19/2023

Got any ideas for fixing Canada's drug shortages? Health Canada wants to know

From June 5 to August 4, Canadians can share their thoughts with the federal task force for drug shortages.

Health Canada’s task force for drug shortages—formed last year under the leadership of federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos—is looking for new ways to address the ongoing lapses in the country’s supply of medications and other health products.

Got any ideas? The task force wants to hear from you.

On June 5, the Drug Shortages Task Force started public consultations on how to improve the availability of drugs for Canadians. In addition to medications, the task force will also look at shortages of other health products, such as epidural catheters and infant formula, which have had periods of scarcity over the past year.

“We're seeing an increase in the number of critical national shortages, and shortages are lasting longer,” Duclos said in a statement posted on the Government of Canada website. “We're also seeing new shortages of different products like pediatric analgesics and infant formula.”

Read: Two ways to fix Canada’s drug shortages problem

The statement cited recent public opinion polls that show 56% of Canadians are worried about drug shortages.

“Most people want to know more about other choices that may be available,” wrote Duclos. “They also want to know the reason for a shortage and how long it's expected to last.”

In addition to the public consultation, the minister plans to lead a series of roundtables—from June to September—with key stakeholders “to discuss strategies and identify solutions to prevent and mitigate drug shortages.”

Information on how members of the public can share their input can be found on the Health Canada website. Consultation closes on August 4.

Read: ‘Finger pointing’: U.S. national drug shortages are still hammering certain patient groups with no clear end in sight

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