Recent announcements from Health Canada regarding an anticipated shortage of EpiPen Jr. 0.3 mg auto-injectors and a recall of several doses of Oxycodone (due to incorrect expiry dates) both serve as good reminders about pharmacy professionals’ responsibility 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.
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. This assists in determining whether a problem may be widespread and whether other actions are required.
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.
By staying informed and keeping other health professionals up to date, you are supporting collaborative care and promoting patient safety.