On Monday August 12th, 2019 the Canadian
Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) together with Patients for Patient Safety
Canada and health advocacy partners met with federal Minister of Health Ginette
Petitpas Taylor to underscore concerns at the growing movement in the United
States to pursue bulk importation of Canadian medications.
CPSI, like other stakeholders attending the
meeting, is very concerned that bulk imports will lead to dire medication
shortages in Canada, potentially putting patients in Canada at serious risk.
Canada’s medication supply, which barely meets current Canadian needs, is
certainly not sufficient to support both Canadian and U.S. patients.
CPSI has communicated to the Minister of
Health that, based on estimated national requirements by manufacturers with
global supply chains, the Canadian health system does not have the capacity to
address the potential increased demand that could come from a direct supply
relationship between Canada and U.S. The
medication supply simply does not, and will not, exist in Canada to meet such
demands and will result in preventable harm to people across Canada and
additional strain on health systems and providers.
At the outset of the meeting, Minister
Petitpas Taylor stated the bulk importation file is her highest priority, but
for this discussion, she stated she was in listening mode. She noted that it
was critical to hear our perspective, and that the input from the group will
inform Health Canada’s actions. Solutions to this problem are not easy, and a
thorough blueprint is needed to prevent unintended consequences. In the coming
weeks the Minister will be meeting with the U.S. FDA Commissioner, Mr. Norman
Sharpless, to discuss Canada’s concerns.
The Canadian Patient Safety Institute and
Patients for Patient Safety Canada will participate in an upcoming technical briefing
at Health Canada to discuss the government’s regulatory options. We will
continue to encourage the government to listen to patients and consumers and to
take bold steps to ensure Canada’s supply of medicines remains secure so that
patient safety in Canada is not compromised.