Canada Tylenol shortage: Emergency supplies to arrive soon


Emergency supplies of ache and fever remedy are anticipated to arrive soon at hospitals overwhelmed by respiratory sicknesses however observers say extra will be performed to guard in opposition to future drug shortages.

Health Canada says particular imports of ibuprofen from the United States are awaiting distribution, whereas acetaminophen imports from Australia are imminent.

The company didn’t disclose how a lot was anticipated or how stock will probably be cut up amongst hospitals, however promised “truthful distribution of provide throughout Canada.”

“Importation of ibuprofen has occurred, and distribution to hospitals is anticipated to start soon,” Health Canada mentioned Wednesday in an emailed assertion.

The extraordinary measures observe a months-long scarcity of kids’s ache and fever remedy that has despatched many dad and mom and caregivers scouring naked cabinets and swapping tips about drug sightings.

Health Canada pegged the issue to “unprecedented demand because the summer season,” with stock “restricted” at shops and hospitals in varied components of the nation. Observers level to a fancy net of things driving demand, limiting provide and complicating any try at a fast repair.

A glance:


It all began with a spring scarcity of a particular model of acetaminophen, which in flip sparked a secondary pressure on different manufacturers and merchandise together with these containing ibuprofen, says drug coverage professional Mina Tadrous, assistant professor on the University of Toronto’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy.

That was adopted by an uncommon late summer season emergence of respiratory syncytial virus, a typical fall and winter sickness in kids often called RSV, that continues to slam hospitals as we speak.

In addition, the autumn has ushered in “large numbers of sufferers” hit by influenza and COVID-19, says the emergency medical director for the pediatric emergency division at Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ont.

“This 12 months is extraordinarily tough,” Dr. Rod Lim mentioned earlier this week. “We are seeing viruses flow into at completely different occasions than we’ve got historically.”

Parents have been understandably alarmed, however the media protection could have led some to stockpile bottles and worsen the issue, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma prompt throughout a media briefing Oct. 7.

“We really need to guarantee that persons are solely shopping for remedy once they want it. I do know that there is a tendency to guarantee that they’ve remedy there simply in case. But it is main to some panic shopping for on the market.”


The trade group Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada has mentioned drug corporations together with Tylenol maker Johnson & Johnson and Advil producer Haleon have ramped up manufacturing to tackle the spike in demand.

But that is unfolding in a really uncommon 12 months, provides the president of a bunch representing pharmaceutical distributors.

Angelique Berg of the Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management notes stock normally builds steadily from May via August, filling the provision chain in preparation for the demand of chilly and flu season.

“However, what occurred was the demand shifted a lot earlier and lifted a lot extra sharply that even making an attempt to catch up is a mad process for producers,” says Berg, noting that spring and summer season stock was depleted a lot sooner than anticipated.

“I believe everybody within the provide chain was hopeful that (demand) would taper off. It has not tapered off.”

Tadrous says it is not simple for a drug producer to pivot with such turns in demand: “In most instances, it takes months for provide chain to be corrected.”

Tadrous factors to myriad components that go into manufacturing that embody the sourcing of raw supplies, manufacturing facility schedules, labour points, and bottling, labelling and transport particulars.

“These provide chains are world, there’s medicine being made in a single place and being distributed all over the world. They have to label them and make containers and there is most likely some medicine flowing from one manufacturing facility to one other manufacturing facility to a 3rd manufacturing facility,” he says.


Health Canada says it is working intently with producers and distributors of pediatric/toddler and youngsters’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen merchandise to get extra provide to neighborhood pharmacies and customers.

Any imports could be assessed to make sure that they dependable, protected and efficient, mentioned Sharma, however she famous that particular labelling necessities are an extra step wanted to guarantee customers perceive how to use the merchandise.

In addition to shipments from the United States and Australia, Health Canada mentioned it was contemplating extra proposals to import international merchandise, and that any such merchandise would come with data in each official languages.


Medical historian Dr. Jacalyn Duffin says uproar over kids’s ache and fever drugs is simply the most recent controversy to spotlight long-standing vulnerabilities of Canada’s drug provide.

Duffin, who tracks drug shortages on her web site, rattles off myriad points that contribute to shortfalls of all types of medicines properly past acetaminophen and ibuprofen, however notes lots of the most substantial fixes would require world co-operation together with the trade’s largest drug makers.

“The provide chain is means too fragile. It should not be that fragile. We ought to know the place each single drug is coming from. And we must always know which of them are susceptible to provide chain demand issues,” says Duffin.

“We have to develop up as a rustic and begin paying consideration to them, and never making an attempt to suppose that we are able to resolve it inside our personal borders, as a result of we do not make the medicine right here. So we’ve got to have interaction in a global dialog.”

A stockpile of sure medicine might assist when unexpected demand emerges, suggests Tadrous, however then we might have to determine what’s value placing in that nationwide provide.

“We cannot stockpile the whole lot. You additionally fear about losing cash shopping for all these medicine, after which they type of exit of fee, they expire.”

Domestic manufacturing is one other rift, he prompt.

“You need to begin ensuring that you simply incentivize extra manufacturing, native manufacturing, manufacturing coming in from a number of nations, not only one web site, having a dynamic market there,” says Tadrous.

— With recordsdata from Holly McKenzie-Sutter in Toronto.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Nov. 10, 2022.


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