Health minister Rona Ambrose confirms work is being done to study the problem of drug shortages in the country. So far they’re continuing to have a voluntary reporting program where manufacturers let the ministries across Canada know about problems.
“If there is a drug shortage they have to be posted on a web site,” Ambrose said of the measures being taken during an LRT funding announcement in Edmonton. “The drug company also has to make sure that they not only post that there will be a shortage of a particular drug they have to say what other drug can be used in its place.”
“So there’s information not just at a high level from an industry point of view there’s also information for the physician to make sure they’ve got something there to provide their patients so at all levels this has to work,” she said.
Ambrose says she wants to give that system time, but is willing to demand more.
“We do need to have time to make sure we get that system right but I have no qualms of moving to a mandatory system for drug shortages should we need to do that.”
“I’m in consultation with my department on that,” she said “I’ve already announced formal consultations which is the right way to go obviously this has an impact not just on the drug manufacturers. Let’s remember this has an impact on provinces and territories.”
Ambrose told reporters the drug makers are reluctant to move to mandatory reporting.
“Some who are involved in this debate say that the problems we’re having with the voluntary system may not necessarily be helped through a mandatory program. I want to make sure what ever those problems are we’re addressing them. Whether we go to a mandatory program or in another way we’re addressing them. We’ve got to make sure what ever system we use is fixing the problems.”
Ambrose says the shortage is a world wide problem.