Canadian Cancer Society Applauds Commitment by Federal Parties to Address Drug Shortages

15 March 2012

Toronto -

The Canadian Cancer Society applauds the motion passed in the House of Commons on Wednesday to deal with the increasingly urgent issue of drug shortages in Canada.

Federal MPs voted unanimously in favour of a NDP motion calling on the federal government to:

  • cooperate with provinces, territories and industry, in developing a nationwide strategy to anticipate, identify and manage drug shortages;
  • require drug manufacturers to report promptly to Health Canada, the provinces and territories, any planned disruption or discontinuation in production of drugs;
  • expedite the review of regulatory submissions in order to make safe and effective medications available to the Canadian public.

“We were heartened to see all parties come together to take action on this important healthcare issue, and we thank them for putting patients first,” says Dan Demers, Director, Public Issues, Canadian Cancer Society. “We strongly support this motion as the Society had been urging the Federal Health Minister to establish a nationwide coordinated approach to anticipate and address drug shortages in Canada, including mandatory reporting.”

The motion doesn’t commit the federal government to pass regulation to address drug shortages, but it demonstrates intent to move in that direction.

“It’s important that the federal government moves quickly to implement this nationwide strategy, and mandatory reporting, before drug shortages get worse,” says Paul Lapierre, Vice President, Public Affairs and Cancer Control, Canadian Cancer Society. “The Society is deeply concerned about this issue and we’re looking forward to working with the government to develop swift and effective solutions.”

The Society also welcomes the announcement by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health to:

  • examine the role of government and industry in determining drug supply in Canada;
  • determine how the provinces and territories decide what drugs are required in their jurisdiction, how the industry responds to them, and the impact this has on patients.

“We’re committed to working on behalf of cancer patients in Canada to ensure they get the drugs they need when they need them,” says Lapierre. “It’s not acceptable for patients who are already going through a difficult time to have to worry about obtaining the drugs they need for their treatment.”

Shortages have escalated recently as a result of production slow downs at Quebec-based drug manufacturer Sandoz Canada.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Christine Harminc

Senior Manager, Communications & Media Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Phone: 416 934-5340