Health Canada forces drug companies to report shortages online

Health Canada is now forcing drug companies to report any potential drug shortages online.

Drug companies must now report any expected shortage, any past shortage within five days of learning about it, and any drug they plan to discontinue six months in advance.

The plan was announce in June 2016 and took effect Tuesday.

Last week, NEWSTALK 1010 told you about a shortage of chemotherapy drugs in Richmond Hill that delayed treatment for about three dozen cancer patients.

Now, drug companies will have to report any expected shortage, any past shortage within five days of learning about it, and any drug they plan to discontinue six months in advance.

They'll have to do so on the public website DrugShortagesCanada.ca.

This isn't entirely new. Health Canada says companies have been reporting shortages on an industry run website since 2012 but that it will be replaced by the new public website.

Health care providers and patients will be able to sign up for drug-specific email alerts and download a smartphone app.

Health Canada says the information will allow the health system to respond to shortages more quickly and minimize the impacts.

with a file from Siobhan Morris