Minister Ambrose addresses the 147th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Medical Association

Announces Government Action to Enhance Safe Use of Opioids

OTTAWA, Aug. 18, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health delivered a keynote address at the 147th Canadian Medical Association (CMA), General Council Meeting.

During her remarks, the Minister affirmed the Government's commitment to continue working with the CMA on issues of importance while highlighting several themes encompassing some of her priorities, such as patient safety, prescription drug abuse, family violence and healthcare innovation.

In underscoring recent initiatives such as Vanessa's Law and the Regulatory Transparency and Openness Framework and Action Plan, the Minister highlighted another initiative in patient and drug safety. Minister Ambrose announced that the Government has implemented label changes to enhance the safe and appropriate use of controlled-release opioids, including oxycodone and fentanyl products. The changes will help prevent the abuse of these prescription drugs, while ensuring that they remain available for patients who need them.

Minister Ambrose also spoke of the importance of the relationship with the CMA and its role as a source of innovative ideas and practices highlighting their involvement in Choosing Wisely Canada. Advancement of this initiative will encourage physicians and patients to engage in conversations about unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures, and help physicians and patients make smart and effective choices to ensure high-quality care.

Quick Facts

  • There are currently 38 brand name and generic controlled-release opioid medicines in Canada and include, among others, controlled-release versions of morphine, oxycodone, and fentanyl.
  • Other classes of medication apart from opioids may not be effective for the management of severe long-term pain. However, prescription pain medications, when not used properly, can lead to addiction, overdose and even death.
  • Economic Action Plan 2014 delivered nearly $45M to expand the National Anti-Drug Strategy to include prescription drug abuse, including educational measures; enhanced prevention and treatment services in Aboriginal communities; and improved surveillance data on abuse.



"Once again, I'm pleased to attend such an important gathering of healthcare providers.  Our Government is committed to working with healthcare professionals to provide Canadians with the highest standards of health and healthcare possible."
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"Our Government is committed to addressing prescription drug abuse while ensuring that patients who really need certain medications still have access to effective pain relief. We will continue to work with all partners to combat abuse and make the right regulatory decisions based on sound evidence."
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

Related Products

Please visit Health Canada Web site for a copy of the Minister's speech.

SOURCE: Health Canada

For further information: Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Follow Minister Rona Ambrose @MinRonaAmbrose , Like on Facebook; Health Canada: Media Relations, (613) 957-2983; Public Inquiries: (613) 957-2991, 1-866 225-0709; Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at:


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