Shortages of Prescription Medicines
The key objective of the Canadian generic pharmaceutical industry is to provide adequate supply of high quality affordable medicines for Canadian patients through their health care professionals. Any disruption in supply is of serious concern to us.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding Drug Shortages
A. Any supply disruption is of concern to the manufacturer, especially if it impacts patients. There are various reasons why a manufacturer cannot temporarily supply a drug. The specific reason(s) may vary and can be more than one. The most common causes for drug shortages can be categorised as follows: active ingredient quality and availability, manufacturing issues, regulatory issues and marketplace issues.
A. The Canadian Generic Manufacturers Association’s (CGPA) 9 finished dosage member companies have all agreed to voluntarily post a list of anticipated and actual drug shortages to help patients, physicians and pharmacists . The information will be made available on www.drugshortages.ca and can be accessed through CGPA’s own website (www.canadiangenerics.ca). As well, several companies also post information on their own websites.
A. CGPA member companies are committed to addressing drug shortages and have taken a number of steps to do so. They are increasing investments in plants, machinery, systems and processes and people to increase manufacturing capacity. All CGPA member companies are voluntarily posting drug shortages on the website www.drugshortages.ca to help patients and their pharmacists and physicians, manage their medical care. CGPA is committed to working with their many stakeholders, including governments to address the root causes.
A. The generic industry is a global industry and most of the reasons for shortages are global. Canada is a significant manufacturing location for many international generic companies which may be used to leverage higher priorities in tight production schedules.
A. Patients are encouraged to communicate closely with their physician and pharmacists to determine continued treatment or changes in treatment. Patients should renew their prescriptions with plenty of notice to allow pharmacists to re-fill their orders. It is recommended that you do not wait until you are on your last few pills.
A. CGPA distinguishes a drug shortage as a situation where the manufacturer is unable to supply the majority of the market. CGPA believes that a disruption in supply is different than a drug shortage because supply is available to the market, but that supply has been temporarily delayed in transportation or unevenly distributed between various buyers or marketplaces.
Q. How do I find out which other manufacturers market a molecule in Canada, if one of them cannot supply?
A. Health Canada maintains the Drug Product Database which lists the active manufacturers of products in Canada. It is easy to use the search function and the generic name or active ingredient name to get the list of all approved suppliers of that product. Then work with your pharmacist who can help determine which manufacturers can supply. The Health Canada website is http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodpharma/databasdon/index-eng.php/index.html.