Protecting Patient Care Amid Drug Shortage

In response to a national supply disruption of certain drugs as a result of reduced output from drug manufacturer Sandoz Canada, contingency protocols have been put in place at Four Counties Health Services (FCHS) and Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital (SMGH) sites of the Middlesex Hospital Alliance (MHA).

The MHA is working closely with provincial health authorities at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), South West Local Health Integration Network (SW LHIN), the Thames Valley Hospital Planning Partnership (TVHPP) group, and drug supplier McKesson Canada, to implement a coordinated preparedness plan to protect patient care and avoid disruptions during a temporary Canada-wide supply disruption of certain medications.

At this time, there has been no effect on patient care at the MHA.

By operating under its preparedness contingency protocol, the MHA has been able to make the most effective and efficient allocations of current drug inventory in order to avoid any supply problems.

“Our current essential medications supply is enough that we are able to continue performing surgeries over the next week. That being said, the situation is extremely fluid from day to day, so far it has been manageable with only minimal adjustments at our two hospital sites,” says Nancy Maltby, Chief Operating Officer, MHA.

“We are of course monitoring the supply disruption as all Canadian hospitals are doing and we will make adjustments as needed.”

The drug supply disruption has caused lower stocks in hospitals across the country of some routinely used drugs, especially injectable painkillers and anaesthetics such as morphine, hydromorphone and fentanyl. These drugs are used to treat moderate to severe pain in such cases as patients after surgery and cancer patients.

If stocks continue to decrease, elective procedures in Hospital’s nation-wide may have to be rescheduled. In this case, emergencies and those patients requiring life-saving procedures would be given top priority for drugs of diminished inventory.

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