Drug Shortages

I don’t often write about my own pain, I guess because it is such a part of my everyday life, I try not to dwell on it. I also don’t remember the last pain-free day that I have had, but it has been years. So for me to cope with each day, I take a variety of medications but even then it is still difficult, the pain is never completely gone. As I sit here typing my neck muscles and the muscles between my shoulder blades are in spasm. I have taken my breakthrough meds and have had heat on my neck and back all night to no avail. The worst thing though, is I only have a few pills left to control the muscles spasms that are a constant problem throughout my body.

Drug shortages became a problem in Canada a few years ago for various different reasons. To try to inform the public of this problem the Canadian government set up a website listing the various shortages but this is a voluntary list. Since it is voluntary, some companies do not list the shortage, thus both doctors and pharmacies have no idea if the prescription they are writing/filling is in stock. So when I went to renew my muscle relaxant, the pharmacy was only able to fill a quarter of the prescription. The pharmacist was great, literally phoning all the pharmacies in Hamilton and the actual manufacturer of my medicine, but alas, none were to be found. As a result, my family doctor had to write a different prescription for me. This is a problem because for me to change medicine’s I have to be weaned off one before I start the other, so my body doesn’t have a complete freak out and when you find out at the last-minute that your meds are not available, well you’re screwed.

Is there a solution for the drug shortages in Canada? Should the government make it mandatory for drug companies to list a shortage?

Update: Here are two articles in regards to drugs shortages in Canada:



9 Replies to “Drug Shortages”

  1. I can emphasis with living in pain, I am so sorry. I don’t know the size of town you are in but I am finding relief with acupuncture, shockingly my MD approved of the alternative and it is working. I simply can’t live with my reactions to most drugs and most pain killers and muscle relaxers have terrible interactions with my seizure meds, so I am generally out of luck.

    If you have access to acupuncture, I highly recommend trying.

    1. I live in a very large city with access to pretty much everything. I went to acupuncture years ago, but it did not work out. The medications that I am on, are working for the most part, there are just too many darn things wrong that conflict with each other.

  2. I’m so sorry to see you suffering so much Catherine. People over here don’t struggle so much with shortages but only being prescribed cheaper and cheaper versions of drugs until THEY become such a pain to the doctors that they eventually get something that helps them. Hope you get proper help soon X

    1. We do have generic medications, but there are shortages there as well plus some companies are now stopping their production because they are not making a lot of money on them. It is a definite problem for me but there are people who need life saving cancer drugs or epilepsy meds which is far worse. There is no clear reason why this is happening in some cases which is most frustrating.

  3. Sorry, I did read in your blog that the Canadian Drug Shortage Database is national – my comment should have been clearer – I meant to say that you could start a petition to make it mandatory. I would definitely sign it. It might also be good to have a North American database, as I assume many Canadian pharmacies get their supplies from the USA.

    1. I’m sorry too, for not figuring out what you meant. An excellent idea though, I could start a petition on Change.org. I know there have been difficulties at the one plant in Canada, thus affecting many medications. I will have to do some research on how to do the petition. Thanks for the idea!

  4. There could be a national drug database for doctors and pharmacists to access. You could start a petition on change.org. Medication is not something to be messed about with or taken lightly.

    1. The Canadian Drug Shortage Database is national, the problem is, is that it is not mandatory for drug companies to list the medications that are in short supply. It’s time for the government to make it mandatory.

      1. Sorry, I did read in your blog that the Canadian Drug Shortage Database is national – my comment should have been clearer – I meant to say that you could start a petition to make it mandatory. I would definitely sign it.

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