Ontario Safeguarding Drug Supply for Hospital Patients
New Ontario Government Improving Oversight of Drugs Purchased By Hospitals
Ontario is taking action to safeguard care for hospital patients and improve the oversight of drugs purchased by hospitals, including chemotherapy drugs.
The government is posting a new regulation under the Public Hospitals Act to ensure that hospitals purchase drugs only from accredited, licensed or otherwise approved suppliers.
The province is also working with the Ontario College of Pharmacists on a regulation to give the College the power to inspect premises where pharmacists and pharmacy technicians practice, including where drugs are prepared.
In addition, the government has written to businesses in Ontario that may be selling compounded drugs to obtain more information about their activities, and has asked all Ontario hospitals to confirm that quality assurance processes are in place for all drugs either purchased externally or prepared in the hospital.
These actions complement the steps announced today by Health Canada to clarify oversight responsibility with respect to drug compounding, and add to the actions already taken by the Ontario government to safeguard the drug supply in the province.
- The proposed changes were prompted by the recent discovery of under-dosing of chemotherapy drugs supplied by an independent company to four hospitals in Ontario and one hospital in New Brunswick.
- On March 28, the Ontario government was notified by Cancer Care Ontario that an under-dosing of chemotherapy drugs had occurred affecting patients at the London Health Sciences Centre, Windsor Regional Hospital, Lakeridge Health and Peterborough Regional Health Centre.
- To date, 1,016 Ontario patients have been identified as receiving lower than intended doses of two cancer drugs, Cyclophosphamide and Gemcitabine.
“I am very pleased that Health Canada is acknowledging the important role it has to play, and is doing their part to clarify oversight of drug compounding. Ontario's actions, combined with Health Canada's commitment, will ensure that patients in Ontario hospitals can have full confidence in the safety of their drug treatments. However, this is national problem, and the federal government has an important responsibility in providing a long term solution.”