Public reporting of drug shortages and discontinuances by industry now mandatory

OTTAWA, March 14, 2017 /CNW/ - Many Canadians need medications to treat serious health conditions. A shortage of a drug they need or its discontinuance from sale could be a source of great worry. Prompt public notification of a shortage or discontinuance helps health care providers to make decisions and find alternative medication to prevent or reduce potential impacts on patients.

Today, regulations came into force requiring drug companies experiencing shortages and discontinuances to publicly report them. Drug manufacturers are now required to report on

  • an anticipated drug shortage;
  • a discontinuation of a drug six months in advance; and
  • any previously unreported shortage within five days of learning about it.

As part of the regulations, a new, independent website,, replaces the industry-run website,, where manufacturers have been voluntarily reporting drug shortages and discontinuances since 2012. The new website features enhanced notification features and a mobile application. As well, it provides updated information for health care providers and patients, including tools and guidance to help manage shortages.

Making public reporting of drug shortages and discontinuances mandatory builds on collaborative steps Health Canada has taken in recent years to help manage and minimize the impact of supply disruptions. When a critical national drug shortage occurs, Health Canada works with stakeholders from across the drug supply chain, including provincial and territorial partners, to confirm the details and status of a shortage, coordinate information sharing, and identify collaborative mitigation strategies.

Quick Facts

  • Features of include drug-specific email alerts, advanced search features, more comprehensive information, and the ability for users to download data subsets using third-party software. The free mobile application is available for download on iOS and Android devices.  
  • The reporting requirements and website are being introduced as a result of feedback from stakeholders across the health system supporting mandatory reporting on a non-industry website.

"We know that timely access to reliable industry information helps the health system respond to shortages and discontinuances of medication more quickly and minimize impacts on Canadians. Mandatory reporting by industry and the new website will help to support better patient care." 
The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

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SOURCE Health Canada

For further information: Andrew MacKendrick, Office of Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Media Relations: Health Canada, 613-957-2983; Public Inquiries: 613-957-2991, 1-866 225-0709

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