UPDATE 2-Canadian government to require drug shortage notice

Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:43pm EST
 
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(Adds comments from drug company associations)

By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG Manitoba Feb 10 (Reuters) - The Canadian government will require pharmaceutical companies to post public notices when drugs are not available or face fines, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said on Tuesday.

Posting notices to a website about shortages is currently voluntary. The website, www.drugshortages.ca, lists more than 200 recent shortages of drugs made by companies including Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc, GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Pfizer Canada.

Reasons for shortages include manufacturing problems and unexpected increases in demand.

Drugmakers are already required in the United States to notify the Food and Drug Administration about shortages, including the reasons and expected duration.

Ambrose said in Vancouver that the voluntary system hasn't worked well enough, citing an example of an unnamed drug company that refused to post information about the shortage of a cancer drug.

"It became clear to me that Canadians were not getting this essential information in a timely and reliable manner from all pharmaceutical companies," she said.

Drug companies will be required to report actual and anticipated shortages on a website to be developed, once regulations take effect. In the meantime, manufacturers will be expected to post information on the voluntary site.   Continued...