Stockpiling drugs can lead to local shortages: Canadians urged not to buy more medication than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic

Starting date:
March 30, 2020
Type of communication:
Advisory
Subcategory:
Drugs
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Issue:
Supply
Audience:
General Public
Identification number:
RA-72661

Last updated:

Summary

  • Product: Various medications
  • Issue: Increased demand and stockpiling of medications in response to COVID-19.
  • What to do: Do not buy more medication than usual to help ensure that all Canadians continue to have access to the medications they need and to help prevent drug shortages.

OTTAWA – Health Canada understands the stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and recognizes that Canadians may be concerned about not being able to get medications they rely on for themselves and their loved ones.

While the Government of Canada recommends that Canadians refill their prescriptions now so that they do not have to go to a pharmacy if they become sick, we are urging patients not to buy more medication than usual. This will help ensure that all Canadians continue to have access to the medications they need and it will also help prevent drug shortages.

Patients are encouraged to contact their health care provider to renew their prescriptions ahead of time. Health Canada is also calling on health professionals to avoid prescribing or dispensing larger supplies of medication than necessary, unless there is a specific medical reason to do so. Increased demand and stockpiling of medications can lead to local shortages, which means that some may not be able to get the treatments they need.

Health Canada has been monitoring the supply situation closely and will take any necessary actions in collaboration with companies, provinces and territories, healthcare professionals, and our international regulatory partners to help ensure continued supply of needed medications for Canadians.

In addition, Health Canada has taken steps to speed up approvals of medical devices and drugs indicated to diagnose, treat, or mitigate the impact of the novel coronavirus and is expediting access to disinfectants, hand sanitizers, and personal protective equipment to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Health Canada will continue to closely monitor the supply of drugs in Canada with the priority being that all Canadians continue to have access to the medications they need.

For the latest and most up-to-date information on COVID-19 visit Canada.ca/coronavirus.

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