April 23, 2020
For immediate release
New Brunswick College of Pharmacists expresses grave disappointment in provincial government’s unilateral decision to reverse temporary 30-day refill restrictions on prescriptions
MONCTON, N.B. – “We are deeply concerned about the health of New Brunswickers and we take no solace in this political decision to unilaterally ignore our professional advice and valid concerns,” says Sam Lanctin, Registrar of the New Brunswick College of Pharmacists, following the announcement today by Premier Blaine Higgs to reverse the College’s directive to temporarily restrict refills to 30 days.
“We are gravely disappointed in this decision,” Mr. Lanctin says. “Ignoring the significant supply chain warnings, information and alerts from the manufacturers and distributors will not make the problem go away. We believed – and still believe – that doing our part to stabilize already shaky international supply chains is the right thing to do. Preventing new shortages and helping to ensure current shortages don’t get worse was what we were aiming to do. Unfortunately, the government has decided to simply leave this up to fate.”
“Today’s political decision may have severe ramifications down the road,” he says. “It doesn’t take much to disrupt a supply chain – and limiting supplies in the short term was – and still is – the right thing to do. We are especially concerned with ongoing issues in India and China, where many of the ingredients for medications are sourced.”
There will most certainly be instances where patients will simply be unable to obtain the medications requested. Regardless of what pharmacies are ordering from their wholesaler stakeholders right now, there are restrictions in place that prevent pharmacies from receiving usual amounts of stock. In the meantime, Mr. Lanctin says that New Brunswickers can still help by voluntarily opting for 30-day refills instead of 60 or 90 days if they are able to. “New Brunswickers can help drug supplies by resisting the urge to hoard medications and to maintain 30-day refills for the time being if this is a valid option for them. We would encourage them to do so to help during this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.”
The College is also concerned with this challenge to the legislated authority of all self-regulated bodies in the province.
Prior to the College’s intervention, in the early days of the pandemic crisis, the demand for prescription drugs increased more than 200% in Canada as a result of the public feeling the need to stockpile medications.
“Make no mistake,” Mr. Lanctin says. “Global supply challenges also pose a threat to New Brunswick’s drug supply. Our province is not immune. Constantly evolving border controls and labour shortages slow down the flow of medications internationally. Furthermore, while China is trying to catch up on their production capacity, India remains on an extended lockdown and operates well below their expected output for ingredients and finished products.”
About the New Brunswick College of Pharmacists
The principal object and duty of the New Brunswick College of Pharmacists is to promote and protect the health and well-being of the public, in collaboration with other health disciplines. The College was established by an Act of the Legislature of New Brunswick in 1884.
The College governs and regulates the practice of phrmacy in New Brunswick by establishing: code of ethics; qualifications for licensure; standards of practice and requirements for members and pharmacies; continuous professional development requirements; and criteria for collaborative practice with other health care professionals.
The New Brunswick College of Pharmacists is governed by a council of elected representatives from across the province as well as representatives from schools of pharmacy education and lay representatives appointed by the Government of New Brunswick. The College’s administrative office is located in Moncton.
506.857-8957 ext. 5
New Brunswick College of Pharmacists
506.857.8957 ext. 3