Canadian Medical Association

Physician Changemakers

Dr. Douglas DuVal

Dr. Douglas DuVal

It’s a life-threatening reaction to anesthesia that causes a rapid heart rate, a dangerously high fever and severe muscle spasms. The condition is called malignant hyperthermia, and dantrolene is the only drug that can treat it. So when Alberta Health Services (AHS) issued a warning in May 2018 that dantrolene was on back order until late August 2018, the issue of drug shortages hit home for Dr. Douglas DuVal.

Dr. Douglas DuVal's full story

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CMA activity and submissions


August 13, 2020

CMA letter: “Taking action on drugs shortages during COVID-19”

This letter to the prime minister, signed by front-line physicians and pharmacists, proposes recommendations to address shortages of essential and critical medications, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic

August 13, 2020

Taking action on drug shortages during COVID-19 - open letter

This joint letter to the prime minister puts forward a strategy to address drug shortages, including stockpiling critical medications, identifying manufacturers to specialize in producing critical drugs, and ensuring greater transparency and communications among governments and the health sector.

June 28, 2017

CMA response: Patented Medicines Regulations Consultations

The CMA responds to Health Canada consultations on patented medicines regulations, calling for revisions to bring transparency and clarity to price setting of patented medicines

June 1, 2016

National Pharmacare in Canada: Getting There from Here

The CMA submits background to support a federal study on the development of a national pharmacare program, underscoring the need for federal government leadership and financial support

January 20, 2016

Regulatory Framework for the Mandatory Reporting of Adverse Drug Reactions and Medical Device Incidents by Provincial and Territorial Healthcare Institutions

The CMA recommends improvements to Canada’s adverse drug reactions reporting system in response to a Health Canada consultation

June 8, 2015

CMA response: Bill C-17, Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa's Law)

The CMA calls for enhancements and revised guidance in response to Health Canada’s public consultation on the Guide to New Authorities under Bill C-17 Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa’s Law)

December 8, 2012

Vision for e-Prescribing: A joint statement by the CMA and the CPA

In a joint statement with the Canadian Pharmacists Association, the CMA calls for provinces, territories and regulatory organizations to work together to overcome barriers to e-Prescribing in Canada

Tools & Resources


Principles for optimal prescribing

The goal of any prescribing physician is to provide the most beneficial and least harmful drugs at the right cost to the patient and the health care system. This CMA policy paper supports that goal with information on what physicians can do to promote optimal prescribing in their practice.


Support for deprescribing

Whenever you prescribe a medication, you’re weighing the benefits and the potential harms to the patient. But this determination can shift over time. is a valuable resource for helping patients taper off medications that are no longer serving their needs.


Canadian Drug Shortages database

The CMA is part of the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee on Drug Shortages in Canada, which operates the Canadian Drug Shortages database — a repository of information and resources to aid drug shortage response and prevention.

Related resources

Principles for giving prescription drug information to consumers

Canadians should have access to accurate, unbiased information about prescription medications and other therapeutic interventions — especially those living with chronic conditions. This CMA policy offers 10 principles for providing consumer information on prescription drugs.

Appropriate prescribing for seniors

Seniors are the fastest-growing segment of Canada’s population and use prescriptions drugs more than any other. This CMA policy offers guidance on appropriate prescribing for older patients.

Enhancing drug therapy quality

Achieving optimal drug therapy outcomes demands effective communication and collaboration between patients, physicians and pharmacists. This statement outlines the goals of drug therapy, strategies for collaboration and what your responsibilities are as a physician.

Prescription drug shortages in Canada

This CMA policy statement outlines Canada’s drug supply chain, the impacts of drug shortages and supply disruptions, and the CMA’s recommendations for prevention and response.

Guidelines for interacting with industry

Take advantage of these guidelines to help avoid conflicts of interest and uphold your primary duty of patient care when collaborating with pharmaceutical and health supply stakeholders for research, education and other purposes.

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