Canada has a developed health system, and drug shortages shouldn’t be happening. Nonetheless, they do.
Drugs that are on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of essential medicines have certain conditions. They’re supposed to be available to all those who need them at anytime, within a “functioning health system”.
But if you suffer from epilepsy in Canada, these rules seem to have flown out the window.
The generic drug valproic acid, which is used to treat patients who suffer from epileptic seizures, is hard for some people to find right now.
Those individuals with epilepsy can still find valproic acid in some pharmacies across the nation, but not all. Many are running low or simply out of the drug, but it’s necessary.
Valproic acid reduces seizures in those who suffer from absence seizures, partial seizures and generalized seizures. It’s also used to treat bi-polar disorder and in preventing migraine headaches. Important stuff.
What can patients who need it do?
Specialists are hoping that stores will be replenished soon. They say things will come back up to needed levels within the next few weeks. Hopefully they will before the situation becomes critical.
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But even if things do come back to normal, the situation has left many people wondering how these drug shortages can happen in the first place.
Canada is supposed to be a modern, developed country, with a functioning health system, is it not?
Here are three reasons why sometimes there is little valproic acid to be found:
1) Companies Can’t Predict Amounts
Some pharmaceutical companies keep extra inventory on hand, and some simply do not. If only a few companies have a couple of weeks of extra medicine on their shelves, a shortage can occur. Companies don’t necessarily foresee when extra amounts of the drug are going to be needed, and the customer suffers as a result.
2) The Price is Too Low
Companies that manufacture and distribute generic drugs can only go so low with their prices. When a government lowers the price of a drug below what a company making it is willing to sell it for, things can come to a halt. Some companies distributing generic valproic acid may have withdrawn their drug from the market. They say it’s not profitable enough at the moment to do business. Again, the patients then get caught in the crossfire.
3) Disasters Pop Up in the Supply Chain
Sometimes disasters happen, resulting in a limited supply of goods. Back in 2012, a factory that produces drugs like painkillers, antibiotics and anesthetics in Quebec, Canada, had a fire break out in the ceiling above the boiler room. It stopped production for a few days and impacted the supply chain, possibly leaving some patients in a temporary lurch.
If you need generic valproic acid but can’t find it, what can you do? Try to Buy it online , or try other routes. Search for pharmaceutical exchange groups on social media apps like WhatsApp, and certain websites.