Canada secures more foreign shipments of kids’ pain medications amid ongoing shortage – National

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New shipments of children’s pain medication will be available for retail purchase “in the coming weeks,” thanks to foreign supplies of the medication recently secured by Health Canada, the regulator said Monday.

The shipments of children’s acetaminophen are the latest in efforts from the federal government to secure additional supplies of children’s pain medications, due to a shortage of both children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen that has been ongoing since the summer.

Last month, Health Canada approved the exceptional importation of ibuprofen from the United States and acetaminophen from Australia, to supply hospitals in Canada amid the shortages.

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The ibuprofen shipments have already arrived in Canada and distribution to hospitals has begun, according to a statement from Health Canada issued Monday.

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Now, the agency says it has secured a foreign supply of children’s acetaminophen that will be available for sale at retail and in community pharmacies “in the coming weeks.”

The amount of this medication that will be imported will increase the supply available to consumers and will help address the immediate situation, Health Canada said in a statement.

“At this time, Canadians should buy only what they need, so that other parents and caregivers can access medication so we can meet the needs of sick children,” it added.

Health Canada carefully reviewed this new proposal to ensure it adhered to Canadian quality standards and found the product was “safe and effective,” the agency says.

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Bilingual labelling laws will also be applied to these new products, it added.

“All information related to cautions and warnings, dosing directions, ingredients and other important details will be made available in both English and French to ensure parents and caregivers clearly understand what medication they are using and how to give to their children,” the Health Canada statement says.

“This work is being done in parallel to obtaining the additional foreign supply.”

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Health Canada says the countrywide shortage of children’s formulations of acetaminophen and ibuprofen is due to unprecedented demand.

Manufacturers of these drugs in Canada have increased production by 30 per cent, but demand continues to outstrip supply.

Health Canada says it continues to work closely with manufacturers and distributors of infant and children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen products as well as provinces and territories, children’s hospitals, the Canadian Pediatric Society, the Canadian Pharmacists Association and Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada to facilitate information-sharing along the manufacturing and distribution supply chain and to identify and implement additional measures to alleviate the current shortage.

More to come.

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