Ottawa keeps tabs as doctors sound alarm about cancer drug supply

A news report says hospitals in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are running short

Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons, Monday June 17, 2019 in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

The federal health minister’s office says it is keeping a close watch on the supply of three generic cancer drugs as doctors raise serious concerns about the risk of critical shortages across Canada.

The intravenous drugs in question are etoposide, vinorelbine and leucovorin.

Petitpas Taylor’s spokesperson Alexander Cohen says the government has facilitated the importation of an international supply of etoposide in the short term.

Cohen says companies are conserving existing supply for patients and the shortage for that particular drug is expected to be over by the end of September.

In the case of vinorelbine, he says the company Generic Medical Partners Inc. is putting in place a distribution plan to supply 75 per cent of demand for current orders by October and is also increasing production.

For leucovorin, Cohen says the federal government is working with companies on options to import an international supply as soon as possible.

“We’re closely monitoring the supply of each of the three cancer drugs, and have taken specific measures to ensure Canadians continue to have access to them,” he said in a statement.

ALSO READ: Canada eyeing implications of U.S. plan to allow imports of prescription drugs

CBC News reported on the weekend that hospitals in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have been scrambling to find alternatives and make existing supplies of the drugs last as long as possible.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lexi Bainas column: Thanks for the memories: Lexi Bainas reflects on retirement

It’s been great but it’s time for the last waltz

Sonia Furstenau column: Proud of moving forward important issues over the last year

During the announcement, I reflected on the role my office played

Drivesmart column: The difficulty with stop signs

One wouldn’t think that stopping at a stop sign would be such a problem for drivers.

Duncan Christian hoops teams back in action with a busy month

Senior boys and girls play league and tournament games

Robert Barron column: Immigrants in the Cowichan Valley are an asset

If they are successful, the family would be a great addition to the Valley

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read