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Mandatory drug shortage reporting a welcome step, CMA says

Ottawa  (Feb. 10, 2014) — The requirement for mandatory reporting  of actual and potential  drug shortages is a very welcome step, Dr. Chris Simpson, president of the Canadian Medical Association, said today.

“We are pleased that Health Minister Rona Ambrose announced today that Ottawa is moving to improve and strengthen the notification system for drug shortages by establishing a third-party website that will run independently of the pharmaceutical industry,” Dr. Simpson said.

Since 2010, the CMA has been actively calling for meaningful action by governments to identify shortages and then rapidly communicate them to health professionals and respond quickly to resolve them.

“Physicians are gravely concerned with the impacts of drug shortages on their patients,” Dr. Simpson said.

“Persistent shortages in the supply of drugs pose a serious disruption to clinical treatment, increase medical error and put unhelpful pressure on the entire health care system.”

The CMA encourages Health Canada to initiate a broader consultation on the full scope of issues related to drug shortages with the aim of reducing the occurrence and mitigating the impact of drug shortages on patients and patient care.

Dr Simpson added it is particularly important that physicians and health care professionals be consulted in the design of the third party reporting website to make it as user-friendly as possible.

“It is also important to remember that disclosure is only one part of the solution to the problem of drug shortages. We all need to work together to solve this.”

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 80,000 of Canada’s physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 60 national medical organizations. CMA’s mission is helping physicians care for patients. The CMA will be the leader in engaging and serving physicians and be the national voice for the highest standards for health and health care.