OTTAWA -- The generic drug maker at the centre of the
nationwide medication shortage stands to profit from the crisis, the
Ottawa Citizen has learned.
Foreign manufacturing plants belonging to Sandoz, the
generic-drug subsidiary of pharmaceuticals giant Novartis, represent the
single largest group seeking Health Canada's permission to provide the
medications that are in short supply.
As the federal drug regulator, Health Canada, is reviewing
applications from companies that could fill the gap left by Sandoz
Canada, which has slowed or discontinued production of dozens of
sole-sourced painkillers, sedatives and cardiac drugs commonly used by
hospitals across the country.
Of the 23 applications from drug makers that could ease the
shortage, 15 are from "Sandoz sourcing supplies from their foreign
facilities," Health Canada said in a written response to questions posed
by the Citizen.
The remaining eight applications are from companies Health Canada did not name.
Among the 15 generic drugs that could be supplied by
Sandoz's foreign affiliates are Dexamethasone, Clindamycin, Diazepam,
morphine, Fentanyl and Midazolam.
Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has said her department
could give its approval within a month to the first drug companies
willing to fill the void left by the Boucherville, Que. company.
The facility, which has been plagued by quality-control
lapses and a recent fire, supplies Canadian hospitals with 90 per cent
of all injectable drugs, including more than 100 narcotic painkillers
and sedatives commonly used in operating rooms, intensive-care units and
Any company, including Sandoz, that receives federal
approval to be an alternate supplier likely will charge a premium for
its medications, warned Michael Blanchard, clinical director of pharmacy
services for HealthPro Canada.
-- Postmedia News
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 17, 2012 A20