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Wed Jul 22, 2020, 01:29 PM

Pandemic creating potential for drug shortages that Canada isn't equipped to deal with

This column is an opinion by Dr. AbdulGhani Basith, an emergency physician in Toronto and a faculty member at The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. He is a co-founder of The Critical Drugs Coalition, a group of pharmaceutical experts, physicians and others working to prevent future drug shortages in Canada. For more information about CBC's Opinion section, please see the FAQ.

For months now, Canadians have been sacrificing things we never thought we would have to and giving up more than we ever thought we could. Those sacrifices are paying off — they've helped flatten the curve, and our hospitals are able to keep up with the burden of this terrible virus.

However, while we have survived this leg of the race, we must recognize that COVID-19 is a marathon that will continue to tax our health care system, and that it is creating the potential for drug shortfalls on a level that we may not be prepared to deal with.

This applies to critical medications as well as potential COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. The federal government needs to publicly and openly take action now to secure our supply of critical care drugs, so that front-line health care providers can continue the work of tending to the sickest patients.

Part of taking care of critically ill people depends on medications that are routinely used in emergency departments and intensive care units all over the world. Medications such as norepinephrine can help support a patient's blood pressure, while others such as propofol and fentanyl help sedate patients on ventilators or undergoing painful procedures.

Without these medications in my ER, we would not have been able to save the life of an otherwise healthy female patient recently whose respiratory system could no longer handle the damage done by COVID-19. We also would not have been able to honour the wishes of an 85-year-old grandmother who was not able to be with her family during her final moments from pneumonia, and who wanted to die with dignity and comfort.

Although these medications are not currently in short supply, the long-term situation is tenuous due to issues with global supply chains as the pandemic rages on.


More at link:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/opinion-pandemic-drug-shortages-1.5604791

I think this is a really important discussion we need to have. We get things produced “cheaper” in other countries but the end costs of shortages and the emotional cost of knowing why it’s made cheaper is high.

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Reply Pandemic creating potential for drug shortages that Canada isn't equipped to deal with (Original post)
EllieBC Jul 22 OP
Fiendish Thingy Jul 22 #1
EllieBC Jul 22 #2
SWBTATTReg Jul 22 #3

Response to EllieBC (Original post)

Wed Jul 22, 2020, 01:47 PM

1. Trudeau could use emergency powers act to ramp up pharma manufacturing in Canada

As well as PPE.

Most Canadians are working hard to flatten curve and need to know system will be there for them when needed.

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Response to Fiendish Thingy (Reply #1)

Wed Jul 22, 2020, 01:51 PM

2. Exactly

We as citizens can’t do it all on our own.

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Response to Fiendish Thingy (Reply #1)

Wed Jul 22, 2020, 02:31 PM

3. And I wonder how many American citizens get their drugs from Canada (and other...

places) and just how long will this last (the overseas prescription drug market being used to fulfill Americans' drug prescriptions)? I suspect as the CV epidemic goes on and on, supply chains will suffer and countries will start making it illegal to ship drugs out of countries.

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