Our examination of shortages—which we had already begun a year ago—revealed that more than 43% of shortages had to do with manufacturing quality, so products that did not meet either Health Canada or FDA standards. So there is a significant responsibility at all levels.
The current crisis has prompted us to adopt a different outlook, one where we do not point the finger at those who came before. When we saw shortages in the early 2000s, they did not last long, generally speaking. Now, they are longer. We are being told they will last three or six months. That is a new reality.
Legislation is adapted in response to new needs of patients and the public, and new problems. We are facing a new problem. Thirty years ago, no one would have ever thought there would be a need for legislation on counterfeit drugs or Internet pharmacies. But that is where we are heading, where countries all over the world are heading.
The drug shortage problem falls in that same category. It is a global problem whose repercussions have not necessarily been felt, a problem caused by globalization, the worldwide concentration of the pharmaceutical industry—both ingredient suppliers and drug manufacturers—and distribution methods, among other things. As you can see, all those areas need to be addressed.
Clearly, we have certain needs that have yet to be met. We used to rely solely on the good faith of organizations, which did not necessarily act in bad faith. They were simply caught in a historical context that dictated a certain way of doing things. It is now time to realize that we must do things differently. And to make these organizations do things differently, legislation is needed, because this is an area where people want to protect certain markets, or could eventually do so.