Drug shortages in Canada increased with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to many factors including Canada’s reliance on international sources. Last week Health Canada stated, “The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant shifts in the supply and demand of certain drugs. While supply levels may be stabilizing, supply pressures continue for certain drugs.”
The Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP) and the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA) supported Alberta Health in joining other provinces to limit prescription quantities to 30-day supply limits, to help assure that individuals requiring drug therapy had access to their prescribed drug needs. We thank Albertans for their cooperation and understanding; at this time, indications are that this effort by everyone has worked.
Following the announcement that Alberta’s relaunch strategy will start Phase 2, Alberta Health is relaxing its policy that limited prescriptions to a 30-day supply, effective June 15, 2020. This means that pharmacists in Alberta can begin to dispense larger quantities again—up to a 100-day supply—starting on June 15.
Despite this, pharmacists should use their professional judgement to limit the dispensed quantities of specific drugs that continue to be short or at risk of a shortage. ACP will work with Alberta Health and other provincial and national partners to monitor drug shortages and will advocate policies to prevent risk to individuals that could result from drug shortages.
For more information, refer to Alberta Health’s news release.