April 27, 2012
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, announced that Economic Action Plan 2012 cuts red tape that currently delays access for Canadians to new over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. It also saves taxpayers money by eliminating a paper regulatory process that is currently required to confirm that a new drug requires a prescription. This will be accomplished by eliminating Schedule F of Health Canada's Food and Drug Regulations.
"In response to issues raised during the Red Tape Reduction Commission, companies and consumers will no longer be required to wait for months before a prescription drug can become OTC." said Minister Aglukkaq "With this move, consumers will soon benefit from quicker access to safe non-prescription drugs."
Currently, prescription drugs are required to be formally added to Schedule F of the Food and Drug Regulations through a regulatory amendment. A regulatory amendment is also required to remove a drug from Schedule F. The process to remove a drug can take from 14 to 20 months to complete, long after Health Canada has determined that it is safe to move a prescription drug to OTC status.
Eliminating Schedule F will cut red tape without compromising safety. Drug safety will continue to be confirmed through a rigorous process of scientific review before a drug can be approved for sale and before a drug can be sold OTC.
"This proposal also means taxpayers will no longer have to cover the costs of outdated regulatory processes," said Minister Aglukkaq. "Health Canada will replace the current inefficient process with a faster and transparent posting of each new prescription drug on our website."
Health Canada is taking steps now to make the necessary changes to establish this new approach.
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