Event summary produced by The Globe and Mail Events team. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.
How extensive are drug shortages in Canada, and what solutions might the health care, pharmaceutical and government sectors apply to the problem? The Globe and Mail hosted the Drug Shortages Summit on February 17 to bring patients, experts and industry voices together to discuss the issue and potential remedies.
If you missed the webcast or would like to view it again, please scroll down to the video player, below.
André Picard, health reporter and columnist with The Globe and Mail moderated the event and began by interviewing Dr. Jacalyn Duffin, professor emerita, Hannah Chair of the History of Medicine with Queen’s University. Dr. Duffin provided context on the issue by addressing:
- The current situation with drug shortages and the effects of the global pandemic on supply
- Some of the causes of drug shortages in Canada
- The importance of tracking and assessing Canada’s drug supply and shortages
Following the interview Mr. Picard hosted a panel discussion featuring a patient, a pharmacist, physician and a representative from a patient association. The group shared insights on how shortages of medications affect patient well-being, stress and health outcomes. The panel included:
- Jennifer Gerdts, executive director of Food Allergy Canada
- Dr. Rakesh Patel, assistant professor of medicine and program director for adult critical care medicine with the University of Ottawa
- Christina Tulk, pharmacist/owner and chair of the Canadian Pharmacists Association
- Jillian Kuchard, volunteer with the Arthritis Society
Kevin Mohamed, Canada lead of the hospital business unit with Pfizer LLC participated in an interview to provide perspective from a pharmaceutical company. Mr. Mohamed discussed Pfizer’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines in Canada. He also outlined factors contributing to drug shortages such as health care procurement practices.
The event concluded with a panel of experts who have been tracking developments in Canada’s drug supply chain and offered potential solutions to the shortages. The group covered strategies to help Canadians living with rare disorders access drugs and treatments, along with the importance of open innovation to expand Canada’s biomedical sector and self-reliance for medications.
They also discussed policies governments might apply at different parts of the drug supply chain to ease shortages, and the opportunity for Canada to take more of a global leadership role in areas such as isotope supply. The panel included:
- Angelique Berg, senior vice-president of stakeholder engagement with the Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management (CAPDM)
- Dr. Durhane Wong-Rieger, president and CEO of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders
- Richard Gold, James McGill professor with the faculty of law at McGill University
- James Scongack, executive vice-president of corporate affairs and operational services with Bruce Power
Watch the full event below.
The Globe and Mail presented the event with support from Bruce Power, the Canadian Pharmacists Association and the Royal Society of Canada (RSC).
Part One - Interview with Dr. Jacalyn Duffin and “Patient Impacts” panel
Part Two - Kevin Mohamed (Pfizer) and “Solutions and Strategies” panel