A regulatory flaw has Health Canada’s hands tied when it comes to recalling prescription medications found to be unsafe.
Regulators can recall things including bad food, toys and clothing, but not drugs.
The flaw has come into the spotlight in a Government commissioned report on faulty birth control pills.
The Toronto Star reported on controversial birth control/acne drug Diane-35 the subject of a worldwide safety review after it was found to cause an increase risk of severe, sometimes fatal blood clotting. The Star says Diane-35 is suspected of causing fatal blood clots in at least 13 young Canadian women.
Though Health Canada concluded the benefits of the drug outweigh its risks, the department has since confirmed it could not order the drug to be pulled from shelves even if it wanted to.
The Government-commissioned review, released in September by Risk Sciences International in Ottawa, urged the Federal Department to strengthen its recall authority for pharmaceutical products.
The Star reports complaints of adverse drug reactions between 1998 and 2011 skyrocketed 800 percent.