On Wednesday, January 18, the province announced that the first shipment of children’s liquid acetaminophen has arrived and will be distributed to hospitals across the province immediately.
In order to receive Health Canada approval, the manufacturer was required to submit a proposal outlining information on the medicine’s quality, safety and product packaging. Health Canada reviewed the proposal and requested additional information as well as a number of changes to meet Canada’s regulatory requirements.
One of these changes was the need to add child-resistant caps to the bottles for the retail use supply. Premier Danielle Smith said that this is the first step in securing additional children's medicine, but she underlined that the approval for the remainder of the medication is crucial.
"We need the approval for the rest of the medication so parents can use them at home. We're in the midst of an exceptionally difficult winter, made more stressful for parents by the shortage of basic medications. Kids and families are waiting for these medications and we need Health Canada to approve them without further delay.”
In the interim, an initial shipment was approved for hospital use only, as child-resistant caps are not a regulatory requirement when the medicine is administered by medical professionals in a hospital. As a result, rather than wait for the total shipment, Alberta’s government opted to receive the first shipment with medicines for hospital use.
The final requirement for child-proof caps has been addressed and the manufacturer has provided all information requested by Health Canada. Alberta’s government is now awaiting Health Canada’s approval of the remaining 4.75 million bottles for retail sale across the province, as are Alberta parents and guardians.
Once received, the medications will be provided to pharmacies for sale at prices in line with the usual retail price. The government is paying a small premium over the expected retail price to secure these medications at a time when there have been global shortages. The full cost will be released when the medication is approved by Health Canada.