Canadian govt urged to address critical drug shortage


Ottawa, Aug 14 (IANS) In an open letter to the Canadian government, the country's doctors and pharmacists have called for addressing shortages for critical drugs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada's Critical Drugs Coalition said in the letter on Thursday that the country's drug shortage has been greatly exacerbated due to the pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.

"We simply cannot afford to jeopardize the lives and wellbeing of our patients due to an inadequate supply of critical drugs," the letter said.

Now there are shortages of essential and critical care medications such as propofol, ketamine, succinylcholine, fentanyl, midazolam and more.

These drugs are essential in the treatment of coronavirus patients under critical conditions.

The letter said that healthcare professionals have also seen shortages in antibiotic drugs, including Penicillin G.

It also pointed out that 24 out of 32 drugs on Health Canada's Tier 3 shortage list are essential for treating COVID-19.

"As frontline pharmacists and physicians, we have seen and heard of serious shortages of essential, critical medications. These drugs are often used simultaneously in ORs, ERs and palliative care wards, as well as ICUs," the letter said.

The coalition called for immediate action by governments at all levels, saying Canada will perpetually face drug shortages unless concrete action is taken.

"Many of the critical care drugs should be part of the National Strategic Emergency Stockpile. However, it is clear that Canada simply did not have enough stockpiles to meet the demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and that there has been under allocation and underspending for the emergency stockpile," said the letter.

The coalition also called for greater transparency and communication from governments to the health sector and the public on the supply of critical medicines to ensure drug supply issues are addressed before they pose any serious risks to sick patients.

"We encourage our government to give this urgent issue attention and efforts now, so that Canadians can have the confidence that their healthcare system will be there when they most need it."





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