Off-label prescribing, although legal for physicians in Canada, is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to promote and fines have been ineffective in preventing this practice. Many off-label prescriptions are for conditions difficult to test for, are aimed at women or children and can have serious adverse effects. Drug companies should be required to collect systematic scientific data on these drugs and medical products and seek market authorization for these uses.
Low profit margins combined with poor oversight by Health Canada has lead to a shortage of essential generic drugs in Canada. All it took to turn a simmering problem into a raging fire was…a fire.