Drug Shortages


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In 2012, the Government of Canada and the Province of Alberta launched the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee on Drug Shortages to advance collaborative work on drug shortages. To address this important issue, the MSSC brings together representatives from industry and health care associations, group purchasing organizations, distributors, the federal, provincial and territorial governments. This multi-stakeholder approach is resulting in real progress in the communication and management of drug shortages. Please see the links below for four MSSC tools:

  • The MSSC Multi-Stakeholder Toolkit (Toolkit) describes the Canadian drug supply chain, clarifies roles and responsibilities of key players, and identifies the tools and strategies available to address drug shortages at specific stages of the supply chain. The Toolkit is a reference to support coordinated multi-stakeholder efforts to identify, mitigate, resolve and prevent drug shortages in Canada.
  • The MSSC Protocol for the Notification and Communication of Drug Shortages sets out clear expectations, principles and processes for how and when stakeholders across the supply chain share information in anticipation of or response to a drug shortage.
  • The Guidance Document to Mitigate Drug Shortages through Contracting and Procurement outlines best practice contracting guidelines, procurement strategies, and tools to address common drug supply chain shortage vulnerabilities. These guidelines, strategies, and tools can be applied by and negotiated between various supply chain stakeholders to better prevent and mitigate shortages.
  • The Preventing Drug Shortages: Identifying Risks and Strategies to Address Manufacturing-Related Drug Shortages in Canada report seeks to identify, analyze, and propose strategies to reduce and prevent the manufacturing-related causes of drug shortages in Canada. The MSSC is committed to working with drug manufacturers to implement the recommendations outlined in this report into their current business architecture, with the goal of preventing drug shortages from happening in the first place.

Together with the earliest notification and information available on, these important tools will help strengthen Canada’s drug supply system and help all stakeholders better prevent and mitigate shortages.

The following information represents information supplied by pharmaceutical companies in Canada. This information will be updated as new information is known and available.

Users who are interested in receiving automatic notifications of new entries to the Canadian Drug Shortage Database may sign up here.

It is important to note that the information collected here represents a snapshot of drug shortages that are known to a Market Authorization Holder. This list will contain shortage information regarding medications that are licensed for use in Canada.

A pharmaceutical company who knows that they will experience important delays in supplying the Canadian market with an approved medicine to meet expected patient demand (i.e. normal prescription volumes) will report this as a 'drug shortage' on this website. A 'drug shortage' could be caused by

  • a problem with the maker of an active or key ingredient in a drug;
  • a manufacturing problem or issue;
  • safety issues identified at the place of manufacture (whether here or abroad);
  • an unexpected increase in demand for a specific drug;
  • regulatory delays in manufacturing site and/or health product approvals.

Delays in receiving prescribed medicines may be experienced in Canada that are not related to a manufacturer's ability to meet normal patient demand, but could be related to

  • unexpected increases in demand for specific drugs;
  • various interruptions in the normal delivery of medicines through the pharmacy supply chain and distribution network; or
  • factors outside the control of a company (e.g. natural disasters).

Members of the public who are experiencing an inability to receive the medication(s) that has/have been prescribed for them should talk to the health care professional who originally wrote their prescription (normally medical doctor, pharmacist, or nurse practitioner) or their pharmacist.

Drug Shortages Records

Product Name Drug Name Company Name Start Date Last Modified
SANDOZ INDOMETHACIN INDOMETHACIN Sandoz Canada Inc. January 27, 2017 February 17, 2017
SANDOZ INDOMETHACIN INDOMETHACIN Sandoz Canada Inc. November 18, 2016 February 17, 2017
SANDOZ CAPECITABINE CAPECITABINE Sandoz Canada Inc. October 13, 2016 February 17, 2017
SANDOZ TOLTERODINE LA TOLTERODINE TARTRATE Sandoz Canada Inc. February 10, 2017 February 17, 2017
SANDOZ CAPECITABINE CAPECITABINE Sandoz Canada Inc. February 10, 2017 February 17, 2017
VENTOLIN NEBULES P.F. - 2.5MG/2.5ML SALBUTAMOL (SALBUTAMOL SULFATE) GlaxoSmithKline Inc. December 8, 2016 February 17, 2017
VENTOLIN NEBULES P.F. - 5MG/2.5ML SALBUTAMOL (SALBUTAMOL SULFATE) GlaxoSmithKline Inc. January 19, 2017 February 17, 2017
VASOPRESSIN INJECTION USP VASOPRESSIN Sandoz Canada Inc. November 10, 2016 February 17, 2017
STIEVA-A CREAM TRETINOIN GlaxoSmithKline Inc. February 8, 2017 February 17, 2017
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