Canada is in the midst of a serious medication shortage crisis. Pharmacies are struggling to fill prescriptions, and their supplies are running low. The shortage has been a known issue in Canada since 2010, and has progressively gotten worse since.
Jacalyn Duffin, a doctor and medical historian, conducted a report which found that that one out of 10 drugs are either on back-order or completely sold out in Canada. These include antibiotics, EpiPens, and other commonly prescribed medications. Health Canada is even advising Epi-Pen users to hold on to their expired pens and use them if needed.
Duffin's study found that the shortage is getting so bad that people are being forced to delay treatments or switch to other, less effective forms of treatment. Medical experts say that the problem's only going to keep getting worse.
At least, all of the drug shortage information is available online. Drug Shortages Canada is a database that logs all of the prescription drugs that have either been discontinued or are in short supply across Canada.
According to the Drug Shortages database, this is just a tiny fraction of the hundreds of medications that are currently out of stock or in short supply:
Duffin says that there's no clear explanation for Canada's shortage crisis, but she does have multiple theories. Duffin told CBC that companies may be struggling to make a profit from certain medications, which could explain why they're in such short supply.
Or, Duffin believes that it may be the result of the devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, which cut power to many medical factories.
Whatever the cause, this issue could have a devastating health impact in Canada in the coming future.