NDP calls for immediate action to address EpiPen shortage

VANCOUVER – On Wednesday, NDP Health Critic Don Davies (Vancouver – Kingsway) called on the Minister of Health to take immediate action to address the EpiPen shortage in Canada. Health Canada has issued a warning that the junior dose will be available in limited supplies only, and the adult dose may not be available at all in August.

“Many Canadians rely on EpiPens as life-saving devices,” said Davies. “The Minister of Health should never have allowed this dangerous situation to develop, and now it’s on her to fix this immediately.”

U.S.-based EpiPen manufacturer Pfizer has announced that the next available shipment to Canada isn’t expected until late August. EpiPens are made at a single Pfizer facility near St. Louis, Missouri, and there are no alternatives sold in Canada.

“It’s unacceptable that Health Canada’s response to the EpiPen shortage has been to tell Canadians to use expired injectors,” said Davies. “Health Canada must ensure that they are always available in sufficient supply – people’s health and their lives are on the line.”

Dr. Amir Attaran, a health law professor at the University of Ottawa, has argued that these shortages continue to happen because there is no requirement that manufacturers provide a consistent supply. Canada’s New Democrats are calling on Health Canada to make it a requirement for patent holders to supply the drug or lose their authorization to sell into the Canadian market.

“When foreign drug companies fail to supply Canadians with life-saving pharmaceuticals, the federal government can and must take action, including expropriating patents if necessary,” added Davies. “The Government’s first priority must always be the health and safety of Canadians.”

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