Drug shortage may delay surgeries: Health Minister

Scott Taylor, Multimedia Journalist
Ottawa Sun

By Scott Taylor, Stratford Beacon Herald

Deb Matthews (Free Press file photo)

Deb Matthews (Free Press file photo)

LONDON, Ont. -- Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews said Friday that some surgeries may be delayed because of a serious drug shortage affecting much of the country.

"What I can tell you is that we are doing everything we can to ensure we have the right supply, but at this point I can't make that guarantee. I wish I could, but I cannot make that guarantee."

Speaking at the Canadian Club, Matthews told reporters that even though Ontario is not short of drugs, her ministry is in the midst of developing a plan to decide which surgeries would be the first in line to be postponed.

"That's part of the work that's underway right now is to develop the protocols if we do, in fact, realize shortages -- and we're doing our best to make sure we don't -- but we need to decide who gets access first."

Matthews also said she's doesn't know how long the crisis will last but stressed there doesn't appear to be a quick fix.

"I'm not sure anybody knows, but we expect it to be a fairly extended shortage from (drug maker) Sandoz. But we are looking at where we can procure alternate supplies."

Matthews said she found out Feb. 28 that there would be problems with the supply from Sandoz Canada.