New source of children’s drugs approved in days, says Alberta health minister
Alberta’s health minister says Health Canada’s approval of a new source of children’s pain and fever medication should be within days.
Minister Jason Copping said a cache of five million bottles of children’s formulations of acetaminophen and ibuprofen could begin flowing from a Turkish manufacturer to Alberta once two outstanding issues are resolved.
« Is it worth it? Absolutely. We still don’t have any products on the shelves, » Copping said during an unrelated health announcement in Calgary on Wednesday.
Copping said unresolved issues remain Health Canada’s packaging approval and Turkish factory approval.
For months, Canadian parents and guardians have been frustrated by a shortage of painkillers sold in children’s doses, liquid and chewable tablets.
Demand is fueled by a poor respiratory virus season, as the country grapples with outbreaks of influenza, COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus and other infections.
Since November, the federal government has imported nearly 1.9 million bottles of children’s painkillers from the United States and Australia, with more to come, according to Health Canada spokeswoman Anna Maddison.
Hospitals and stores have limited stocks of drugs, and many pharmacies keep drugs behind the counter to avoid hoarding.
On December 6, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith announced that Alberta Health Services had found a supplier, named Atabay, who could supply five million doses of children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen to the province.
However, products would first need to be approved by Health Canada.
« The process is almost complete, » Copping said Wednesday, adding that he hoped to have more information on the shipping and distribution schedule soon.
In an email Tuesday, Maddison said Health Canada prioritized Alberta’s submission for review.
She said the agency reviews whether products are safe, effective and comparable to others approved for use in Canada, that supply chain networks are legitimate, and that packaging and labeling – including including cautions and warnings, dosage instructions and ingredients – are available in English and French. English.
« This work ensures that any potential health risks are mitigated and information is clearly communicated to Canadians, » she said.
Copping said since Alberta announced the deal earlier this month, other provinces have reached out and are interested in buying some of the products.
« I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it, that’s where we are right now, » Copping said.
He said the drug will arrive in 10 shipments of around 500,000 bottles at a time.
The provincial government has not disclosed the cost of the agreement. Earlier this month, a spokesperson said the government hoped to recoup much of the expense by reselling the products to pharmacies and other provinces, but there would be a premium to be paid for rapid production. of the drug.