Health Canada releases quarantined cancer drugs amid acute shortage
A sign is displayed in front of Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa on Jan. 3, 2014. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Published Monday, March 6, 2017 10:06PM EST
Health Canada has responded to an acute shortage of the cancer drug Fluorouracil by allowing the release 3,608 vials that had been quarantined last fall after reports of leaking vials.
Health Canada released the drugs Monday “in light of the current reported shortage of this drug, and as an interim measure,” according to a statement issued Monday.
“Healthcare professionals need to visually inspect all vials for clarity, particulate matter, precipitate, discolouration, cracks and leakage prior to administration,” the statement goes on. “Vials that show cracks, leakage, or white powder outside the vial should not be used.”
The news came hours after MacKenzie Health in Richmond Hill, Ont., told Toronto radio station Newstalk 1010 that it had been forced to reschedule chemotherapy treatments for as many as 35 patients.
In a statement to CTV News Monday evening, Cancer Care Ontario said that with the release of the vials, “it is anticipated that this volume of product will be sufficient to meet regular demand until additional supply is available.”
More information for health care workers and patients is available on Health Canada’s website.