Canada’s coronavirus aid package guards against drug shortages with compulsory licensing
By Joel Lexchin
Canada’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, which provides emergency assistance to cope with the expected dramatic economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, contains an important clause that may get overlooked. The act effectively brings back compulsory licensing for drugs if supply is interrupted because of the effects of COVID-19.
There have already been stories about toilet paper shortages in parts of Canada. Far worse would be a shortage of medicines. That has already been reported in Australia where people are being accused of hoarding Ventolin asthma puffers and acetaminophen. Here in Canada, pharmacists are already warning people not to stock up on drugs as that may trigger shortages.