New Tools to Reduce the Impact of Drug Shortages


The federal and Alberta ministers of health announced new tools to reduce the impact of drug shortages, which can affect the supply of local and general anesthetics, sedatives, antibiotics and other emergency drugs. Drug shortages remain a significant problem in the Canadian health care system and have been highlighted by CDA as an emerging issue affecting care of dental patients.

The health ministers announced a protocol and tool kit to better coordinate information about drug shortages:

  • A national protocol sets expectations for the early notification and communication of information related to a drug shortage. Drug manufacturers voluntarily report anticipated or actual drug shortages on The website provides health care professionals and patients with details about each drug shortage, including alternatives that could be used and an estimated resupply date.

  • A tool kit identifies strategies and tools for addressing drug shortages at specific stages of the supply chain—drug approvals, manufacturing, procurement and distribution, and front line delivery.

“Oral care facilities are especially hard-hit when there is a drug shortage because drugs are preferentially allocated to primary care institutions,” explains Kevin Desjardins, CDA director of public affairs.  “Unfortunately, this essentially leaves dental offices and other ‘out of hospital venues’ cut off from critical supplies.” 

Visit to read the national protocol and took kit or to sign up for automatic alerts about drug shortages.