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

Electricity, natural gas use spiked during cold snap: FortisBC

FortisBC said that natural gas use was 50 per cent higher on Jan. 14, compared to week prior

Occupants escape early morning house fire in Grand Forks

Grand Forks Fire/Rescue was called to the scene at 3:38 a.m. on Jan. 15

Latest winter storm prompts West Kootenay travel warning

20-30 cm of snow expected overnight and into Thursday

Impromptu shelter opens in Grand Forks

Volunteers were given owner’s access to building previously used as warming centre in Grand Forks

Programs available in West Kootenay for substance use challenges

Sign up now for two six-week programs in January and March

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling

Vancouver Island distillery wins award for best Canadian rye whisky

Shelter Point cleans up at Canadian Whisky Awards

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

On the job hunt with Nelson’s Make A Change Canada

The employment charity is organizing next week’s Kootenay Patricks, Montreal Canadiens game

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Most Read