Drug Shortages in Canada

Health Canada recognizes the negative impact of drug shortages on patients, health care professionals and the health care system, and is working with stakeholders throughout the supply chain to better prevent, mitigate and communicate shortages.

A drug shortage is a situation in which an authorization holder for a drug is unable to meet the demand for the drug. Drug shortages can include temporary disruptions or permanent discontinuances in the production and supply of a drug. Drug shortages are a complex, global problem. They might arise from any number of possible causes, including production issues, sole source contracting, unexpected surges in demand for a drug, and difficulties accessing raw supplies.

Health Canada plays an active role, as federal regulator, in assessing drugs and other health products on the Canadian market for safety, efficacy and quality. Manufacturers, health care associations, group purchasing organizations, provinces and territories, health care professionals and other key players in the drug supply chain each have distinct and complementary roles to play in addressing drug shortages. Health Canada works with these key players to advance collaborative action and build a more open and secure drug supply system.

In 2016, Health Canada introduced new regulations which require drug manufacturers to report actual and anticipated drug shortages as well as discontinuations on Drug Shortages Canada.

For more information on drug shortages, please visit the links below or click on the tabs to the left:

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