Alberta Health Services facing shortage of critical care drug

18 Juin, 2017, 13:41 | Author: Cyril Hebras
  • The global supply of vials of sodium bicarbonate has been tight since late May due to manufacturing delays and Health Canada says a recent recall means that there is now a shortage in Canada and around the world

Alberta Health Services and other health authorities in North America are facing a severe shortage of sodium bicarbonate injections.

"Alberta Health Services does everything possible to minimize patient impacts from drug shortages". Common scenarios where the drug would be used would be patients experiencing life-threatening infections such as septic shock, those whose blood has become too acidic due to kidney failure or in toxicology to counteract overdoses from drugs or alcohol.

"This is a serious issue and we are working hard to mitigate the effects of the shortage", said Dr. Francois Belanger, Chief Medical Officer with AHS.

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In the release, AHS said it is taking action to manage the situation, by reserving use of sodium bicarbonate for critical situations, implementing an approval process before use, working to prioritize procedures and choose alternative treatments, working with Health Canada to pursue alternative sources, and communicating with physicians about the latest information.

AHS is working with Health Canada, both directly and through the pan-Canadian Provincial/Territorial Drug Shortage Task Team, to confirm timelines of when manufacturing of the drug will recommence and to evaluate off-shore supply options.

"We are ensuring the patients that need it the most are the ones that are getting it", said Belanger.


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