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Canada's drug warnings should be more consistent with other countries: UBC study

Professor urges Canada's Health Ministry to be more transparent by providing easily accessible information

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The lead investigator for a new study says that between 2007 and 2016, Health Canada issued safety notices for only 50% of identified drug safety problems in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. (Photo from Black Press Media archive)

A professor at the University of British Columbia says Health Canada needs to be more consistent with other countries when it comes to issuing warnings about the safety risks of certain drugs, especially if other countries already advise patients taking the same medications.

Barbara Mintzes is the lead researcher for a new study and says that between 2007 and 2016, Health Canada issued safety alerts for only 50% of identified drug safety issues in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.

She joined researchers in analyzing 1,441 alerts during that time and found that regulators in the four countries were only consistent in deciding to alert their populations 10% of the time regarding problems with the same medication.

The affiliated associate professor at the UBC Public Health and Population School also urges Canada's Health Ministry to be more transparent by providing patients with easily accessible online information on adverse drug reactions.

Health Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The study is published in JAMA Internal Medicine, published by the American Medical Association, and also involves research from York University in Toronto and the University of Sydney in Australia.

The Canadian Press

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