The Drug Shortage: Season Opener

photo by Lynne Sladky CP

photo by Lynne Sladky CP


On this week's season debut of White Coat, Black Art we bring you an in-depth look at the critical shortage of essential prescription drugs in Canada. It's an issue that more and more Canadians are being touched by, from those who need chemotherapy drugs for cancer, to those going under the knife in the OR, where drugs used for anesthesia are in short supply.  We'll hear from patients who've been affected and even harmed, such as Alena Rossnagel, who suffered permanent health damage after being given a substitute for her regular antibiotic.

Anesthesiologists like Dr. Rick Hall in Halifax are forced to do "work arounds" with drugs they consider inferior and possibly harmful. Meanwhile, Ottawa Hospital pharmacist Mario Bedard tells us he often finds out from drug suppliers on Friday which of the many drugs he'll be short of come Monday morning.

And we'll find out what happened after the Vancouver hospital where Dr. Brian Warriner works cancelled some elective surgery when it appeared that they were out of a critical drug

Finally, we'll look for answers. Dr. Jackie Duffin weighs in on who is responsible for ensuring Canadians get the drugs they need, whether they are commonly-prescribed antibiotics or older, rarely-used drugs that mean the difference between life and death for a boy like Derek Sorensen, who relies on one of those drugs to control his severe epilepsy. We hear from his mother, Christine.

Don't forget to tell us what you think, and how you've been affected by the drug shortage. You can contact us here.

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