Health Canada seeks nominees for new Scientific Advisory Committee on Health Products for Women

News release

January 31, 2019 - Ottawa, ON - Health Canada

To better support women’s health, Health Canada is establishing a new Scientific Advisory Committee on Health Products for Women. Health Canada is now seeking nominations  to the committee that will help gather tailored and specific evidence and advice about the safety and effectiveness of drugs and medical devices intended to be used by women.

Nominees may include patient groups, health professionals such as pharmacists, physicians and nurse practitioners, scientists, and experts from industry, academia, or public policy. Nominees’ expertise could include:

  • women’s health research, including research ethics;
  • clinical trial or investigational testing involving women;
  • sex and gender-based analysis (particularly for drug or medical device development);
  • medical devices (including medical devices unique to women such as breast implants or contraceptive devices);
  • drugs (e.g., pharmaceuticals, biologics, gene therapies), including sex-based differences for safety or efficacy;
  • post-market issues with drugs and medical devices related to women’s health;
  • first-hand personal experience as, for example, a health professional, patient, or caregiver;
  • Indigenous women’s health issues; or
  • other relevant expertise.
The new committee was announced in December 2018 as part of the Government’s Action Plan on Medical Devices. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Health Products for Women will provide Health Canada with timely scientific, technical and patient-centered advice on current and emerging issues regarding women’s health and the regulation of medical devices and drugs. The committee will examine issues across the product lifecycle, from development to real-world use, with a focus on patient perspectives and experiences.

Health Canada is seeking up to 12 committee members as well as individuals interested in participating as ad hoc members. Nominations close on February 22. The first committee meeting will take place in Ottawa in the spring of 2019.


“Women and men don’t always respond to drugs and medical devices the same way. We need stronger evidence of how health products may perform differently in women in order to make the best possible regulatory decisions for all Canadians. I look forward to the advice that will come from the new Scientific Advisory Committee on Health Products for Women.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • Certain drugs, including antidepressants and some antibiotics, perform differently in women from the way they perform in men.

  • Evidence also points to sex-related differences in the use of, and response to, some medical devices, including cardiovascular devices.

  • There is limited published clinical trial research on sex- and gender-related differences, and data analysis by sex is not consistently carried out for health products.

Associated links


Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
Media Relations
Health Canada

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