Canadians fear drug shortage
After the US Food & Drug Administration forced Swiss generics giant Sandoz AG to update its production facilities in Quebec, there are now fears that supplies of some medicines could grow tight in Canada. The regulatory authority cited various deficiencies relating to the safety and reliability of the plant’s production methods. Sandoz, which employs 800 people at its Boucherville plant, manufactures several hundred medicines, including injectable cancer drugs, antibiotics and morphine. The subsidiary of Novartis AG said it had to shut down facilities for ointments, eye medicines and suppositories, but says production of medicines for severe illnesses will continue. In some cases, the company said, the number of formulations of these drugs will have to be reduced, forcing patients and doctors to modify treatments. Sandoz became a major manufacturer for injectable drugs in Canada after taking over Sabex Holdings in 2004 for about US$500m.