Drug shortages and recalls have been prominent in the news for the last few months, especially the EpiPen shortage and the Valsartan recall. The news stories serve as a reminder about the need for pharmacy professionals to keep up to date with their drug and health product knowledge. This includes being current on shortages, recalls, adverse reactions, safety notices, drug research, and newly available medications and products.
ACP’s Code of Ethics addresses this responsibility. Principle 9 (Ensure that I am competent) states that pharmacy professionals must continuously improve their level of professional knowledge and skill, take responsibility for maintaining a high standard of professional competence, and keep informed about new pharmaceutical knowledge.
“Enhancing drug and health knowledge will help pharmacists to properly assess patients and critically evaluate the evidence used to make patient care decisions to ensure that patients are receiving the best possible care,” said Shao Lee, ACP’s Professional Practice Director. “This also helps pharmacy professionals meet practice standards related to using the best evidence or applying best practices to ensure appropriateness of therapy.”
Pharmacy professionals are also required in the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians to report adverse reactions individuals may have to a drug or blood product. Standard 5.3(g) states that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must report adverse reactions to the Canadian Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring Program.
“Reporting adverse reactions assists in determining whether a problem may be widespread and whether other actions are required,” said Shao. “Keeping other health care professionals informed supports collaborative care and promotes patient safety.”
There are many resources available for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to stay up to date.
Information about current and upcoming drug shortages can be found on the Drug Shortages Canada website. Drug manufacturers and suppliers may also send you information about shortages.
For information on recalls and safety alerts, visit the Health Canada website.
You can stay informed about new or emerging information about health product safety and effectiveness by subscribing to MedEffect Canada’s RSS feeds or e-Notices.
Other resources relating to drug shortages include
- Canadian Pharmacists Association – Drug Shortages: A Guide for Assessment and Patient Management and
- ISMP Canada Safety Bulletin – Drug Shortages and Medication Safety Concerns.