Hospital pharmacists forced to use old and recycled drugs

On-going drug shortages in Quebec are beginning to force some hospital pharmacists to give patients drugs past their best before date and to recycle medication, because they say there are no other options.

The association representing pharmacists in hospitals (APES) says, in a survey, members reported they were forced to give patients expired drugs, and ask nurses to keep leftovers of pain medication, so they could be used for the next patients.

“There is a danger, because that is not the way that is recommended to work, when you keep the rest of medication there is a chance of contamination with bacteria, or other particles,” François Paradis, the president of the association said.

“Because of the drug shortages, pharmacists and nurses have to make changes very quickly without pre-advice, so this increases the risks of mistakes,” Diane Lamarre, president of the Quebec order of pharmacists said.

The association sent a letter to Quebec's health minister on February 21, asking him to take action.

It says right now only one company can supply medication to hospitals, and that needs to change.

The letter also suggests the minister create a list of priority drugs in Quebec and create a comity to coordinate that they are available.

Pharmacists are also urging Health Canada to force pharmaceutical companies to explain why there are drug shortages.

“It is a privilege to be a manufacturer of medication and they should ensure their responsibilities,” Lamarre said.

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  1. clint posted on 02/28/2014 11:11 AM
    Next step.....buying drugs off the street for patients.
  2. george posted on 02/28/2014 11:14 AM
    this is huge grounds for a law suit
  3. concerned posted on 02/28/2014 11:27 AM
    I'm wondering if there's a list online of the medicines that are experiencing shortages? I've tired Googling it, and have come up with nothing recent or specific so far. I figured asking here might be a good idea. Thanks!
  4. George73 posted on 02/28/2014 03:17 PM
    And the Quebec Health Minister has taken no action. Guess he was too busy on more urgent issues - like the Charter and Language and denying off-islanders state of the art medical care.
  5. More BS posted on 03/01/2014 10:52 AM
    I bet the politicians have all the drugs they need. I saw an interview about a Korean person who escaped from the north to the south saying they could not even get band aids in North Korea. While the imbeciles are dying in hospital corridors the majority are worried about praying rituals and zombie parades.
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