Two years after the launch of the Canadian Drug Shortage Database, Health Canada is now seeking input on the current approach to addressing drug shortages in Canada.  A six-week public consultation period has been initiated and runs from May 22, 2014 to July 5, 2014.

In a previous Pharma in Brief bulletin, we summarized Health Canada’s initiative to prevent and reduce the impact of drug shortages in Canada. This initiative included the Protocol for the Notification and Communication for Drug Shortages and Multi-Stakeholder Toolkit for Improved Understanding and Transparency of Drug Shortage Response in Canada.

Canadian drug shortage database

The Drug Shortages Database was launched in March 2012; it is an industry-led database aimed at providing Canadians with information about actual and anticipated drug shortages and supply disruptions. The rationale for implementation of the system is that timely and accurate notification of drug shortages or disruptions is required in order for the healthcare system to react and address the effects of a drug shortage.

Although participation in the notification of drug shortages is voluntary, Canadian pharmaceutical manufacturers and importers are expected to post information on all actual and anticipated drug shortages and discontinuances on the online database.  Under the current policy, information should be posted as early as possible.

Public consultation

In this  consultation, Health Canada is seeking to determine how well the current system is working with a view to addressing concerns going forward.  Health Canada is seeking feedback from the general public  as well as industry stakeholders including manufacturers, distributors, importers, industry organizations, pharmacists and other health care professionals.

Participation in the consultation process can be done by email, mail or through Health Canada’s online submission process.  More information on the submission process can be found through the website link below.


Link to public consultation on the notification of drug shortages

Link to drug shortages database