For years, Canada has made a point of placing warning labels on cigarettes. These remind consumers that smoking is addictive and could lead to a wide array of health issues. Considering that prescription drugs containing opioids have led to a heightened number of deaths in Canada, it only makes sense that they too feature warning labels.
On May 2, Health Canada published a series of new rules and regulations that pharmaceutical companies will need to abide by as it relates to opioid prescriptions. These details were shared in the Canada Gazette, Part II.
The warning stickers to be placed on opioid prescription bottles “will state that the opioid medication can cause dependence, addiction and overdose.” What’s more, these medications will be dispensed to patients with an information sheet that touches on “signs of opioid overdose, and warnings such as not to share the medication,” and to keep these drugs out of the reach of children. This document will also “advise of other serious warnings and potential side effects.”
The mandatory warning sticker and patient handout will be distributed starting October 2018.
“Information is one of our most important tools for keeping ourselves and our families healthy and safe,” commented Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Canada’s Minister of Health. “These standardized, easy-to-understand warning stickers and patient information handouts will put information in the hands of Canadians so that they can understand the risks of prescription opioids and how to safely use these powerful medications.”
Additionally, pharmaceutical companies have now been tasked with developing and implementing “mandatory risk management plans,” designed “to help characterize, monitor, prevent and manage risks associate with the use of their opioid products.”
Said plans will feature “additional activities” targeted toward cutting down how much damage opioid use could cause to a person. For instance, pharmaceutical companies will provide health care providers with educational materials.
On a recent episode of “theZoomer,” Marissa Semkiw was joined at the roundtable by health experts to discuss the increasing use of opioids – and the danger this poses – to Canadians. You can watch this episode below.