Canada drug shortage: Federal official update

The federal government is set to hold a news conference this morning to address the growing alarm over the shortages of children’s drugs that are plaguing the country.

Officials will speak to the media at 11 a.m. EST. reported drug shortages in Canada starting last spring. There are hundreds of drugs that are running low or are currently out of stock, and the problem extends beyond children’s drugs.

The three main viruses circulating today — RSV, influenza, and COVID-19 — are overcrowding hospitals and children’s ICUs, especially in Ontario.

Jen Belcher, an Ottawa-based pharmacist and vice president of strategic initiatives and memberships at the Ontario Pharmacists Association, told CTV’s Your Morning on Friday that shortages may continue for many months.

“Antibiotics are often used for chest infections, ear infections… it’s really a challenge for parents. [to find] when they get through the virus season with very few options,” she said.

She said the reasons for the shortages were “complex”, including a combination of demand, supply chain disruptions and production disruptions, and suggested that drug production needed to be made. should be prioritized in the future.

She said: The drug supply is extremely low, meaning there are few or no alternative treatments, including eye drops after glaucoma surgery, making it “very difficult” to manage. “.

The federal government announced Monday that it has purchased a supply of children’s drugs from international sources. Health Canada said supplies will be available for purchase in the coming weeks. There are 800 drugs in short supply and 23 drugs at extremely low levels, according to the agency.

But the size of the supply is unclear and the agency declined to provide further information to

Amid a number of epidemics raging, Ottawa has come under increasing pressure from the provinces and the federal opposition to take action to address drug shortages. The Conservative Party has urged the federal government to allow the sale of drugs with foreign labels.

Health Canada said that regarding the upcoming supply, “all information regarding cautions and warnings, dosing instructions, ingredients and other important details will be made available in both English.” and French to make sure parents and carers understand what medications they are taking. use and how to give it to their children.” While those debates go on, families are struggling. A family from Kitchener, Ont. The area saw their two-year-old son narrowly be transferred to a hospital in the United States due to the province’s lack of pediatric beds.

According to industry experts, many shelves at pharmacies have been empty, running out of allergy medicine for children, pain relievers for children and now cough and cold syrups for adults, eye drops. and some oral antibiotics.

Many pharmacists across Canada say the problem is only continuing to get worse.

Pam Kennedy, pharmacist and owner of Bridgewater Guardian Pharmacy in Nova Scotia’s South Shore, said in an interview with The Canadian Press on Tuesday: “Pharma team teams are working hard trying to figure it out. other options for the patient but that is becoming increasingly difficult. .

She says that a third of prescriptions are now being ordered back. The drug brands also indicated that this shortage could last until 2023, she added.

Pharmacists have described parents as “desperate” to take their medication, and some have called for increased mask-wearing procedures to stem the growing contagion.

Belcher told CTV Ottawa last month that the easing of health restrictions to limit the spread, including the wearing of masks, had caused the disease to rise earlier.

For parents caring for a sick child during drug shortages, she recommends contacting the child’s healthcare provider if there are concerns about fever and other symptoms. She says to maintain a good amount of water in their bodies and make sure they are well rested.

But not having an appropriate antibiotic for children is worrisome, she told CTV Toronto on Thursday.

“We had to work with parents and prescribers who use adult products and adapt them for use by children. Or switch to antibiotics instead,” she says.

Featuring profiles from The Canadian Press, CTV Toronto, CTV Kitchener, and CTV News Senior Digital Parliamentary Correspondent Rachel Aiello

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