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Drug Shortages Protocol and Tool Kit

September 2013

News Release: Ministers of Health Announce Early Achievements to Help Reduce the Impact of Drug Shortages - Providing Canadians with the information they need

Drug shortages are a complex, global problem. Recognizing that drug shortages can have a significant impact on patients, the Government of Canada has called upon all stakeholders across the health care system to work together.

In 2012, the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta launched the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee on Drug Shortages (MSSC), bringing together federal/provincial/territorial governments, industry, group purchasing organizations, distributors and health professional associations to advance collaborative work on drug shortages. The work of the MSSC focuses on addressing three priority areas:

  • prevention;
  • notification and communication; and,
  • mitigation and crisis management.

Today, a Protocol and Toolkit were announced that will help to prevent and mitigate the impacts of drug shortages.

The MSSC Protocol for the Notification and Communication of Drug Shortages sets out clear expectations for how and when stakeholders across the supply chain share information about drug shortages.

The Multi-Stakeholder Toolkit describes the Canadian drug supply chain, clarifies roles and responsibilities of key players, and identifies the tools and strategies available to prevent and address drug shortages.

Both documents and additional information are available on the website: Next link will take you to another Web site Drug Shortages. The site is a comprehensive source of drug shortage information launched by industry in 2012 with investments from Canadas Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) and the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) to ensure that information about drug supply disruptions is readily available. This information is being used by health professionals and governments to facilitate measures to manage drug supplies effectively on behalf of Canadians.

The site is updated regularly by manufacturers with information about actual or potential shortages of medications, whether alternatives are available, and where to obtain them.  This information is being used by health professionals and governments to facilitate measures to manage drug supplies effectively on behalf of Canadians.

The committee will build on its momentum and progress, by continuing to work collaboratively with all key players to enhance drug shortage notification and communication, demand greater transparency and accountability of industry, and take additional action on preventing and reducing the occurrence and impacts of drug supply disruptions. 

MSSC Member Organizations:

  • Health Canada (co-chair)
  • Alberta Health (co-chair)
  • Canadian Pharmacists Association
  • Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association
  • HealthPRO
  • Canadian Research Based Pharmaceutical Companies
  • MEDBUY
  • Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores
  • Canadian Association of Pharmacy Distribution Management
  • Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists
  • Canada's Agency for Drug and Technologies in Health
  • BIOTECanada
  • Canadian Medical Association