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Companies will be named and shamed for failing to post drug shortages: minister

WATCH: A new federal government plan will require pharmaceutical companies to make drug shortages or face a fine. But as Mike Drolet reports, critics say the naming and shaming plan won’t solve the problem.

VANCOUVER – Canada’s health minister says companies will be required to post drug shortages on a new website or risk being named and shamed.

Rona Ambrose says the site will include letters to companies that have not publicly posted anticipated and actual drug shortages.

Any company that fails to meet the mandatory requirement will be fined.

READ MORE: Canada losing out on negotiating lower drug prices, study says

Ambrose says that so far, companies have volunteered to post shortages but one firm recently failed to notify the public when it was running out of a cancer drug.

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The minister says Health Canada has also sent letters to pharmaceutical companies for not providing timely notifications of shortages of nitroglycerin, which is used to treat a heart condition.

READ MORE: Why critics say the EU trade deal will drive up Canada’s drug prices

Ambrose says Canadians and their doctors need to be informed when the drugs they need are not available in the midst of what is a global problem.