The Critical Drug Reserve during COVID-19

Protecting the health and safety of Canadians and making sure they have the health products that they need is Canada’s top priority. Provincial and territorial governments share this priority.

The demand for key drugs used to treat COVID-19 has increased in Canada and around the world. This has led to an increased risk of drug shortages.

The Government of Canada has been working with provinces/territories and other partners to establish a COVID-19 Critical Drug Reserve. This reserve will help ensure that Canadians have the COVID-19 drugs they need.

The Critical Drug Reserve has focused on the drugs that hospitals are using to treat patients who are critically ill with COVID-19. We used our current experience with the pandemic, analysis of public health information, discussions with provinces and territories, and the advice of health care experts to create the reserve.

List of drugs in the critical drug reserve
Name Type
Cisatracurium Neuromuscular blocker
Epinephrine Vasopressor
Fentanyl Analgesic
Norepinephrine Vasopressor
Propofol Sedative
Rocuronium Neuromuscular blocker
Salbutamol Bronchodilator
Ceftriaxone Antibiotic
Dexamethasone Corticosteroid
Hydromorphone Analgesic
Midazolam Sedative
Vasopressin Vasopressor

Additional drugs can be added over time based on emerging needs throughout the course of the pandemic.

The reserve complements other federal, provincial and territorial efforts already in place to manage drug shortages. It’s a safety net, helping to increase the supply of key drugs used to treat COVID-19.

The reserve is an additional tool and part of our collective pandemic response efforts to support the health and safety of Canadians. It will be in place until March 31, 2022.

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