I do believe, however, that no country has experienced as widespread of a shortage as what Canada is going through. Right now, injectable drugs are severely affected in Canada. I believe it is incumbent upon us to learn from this specific case. I think it is in our best interests to show others the way. Despite dual legislation, I think the responsibilities and oversight are shared, and lessons must be drawn when it comes improving our processes.
Health Canada's special access program is a federal initiative that has never been tested in a shortage situation like the one we are in right now. It has always applied to rare situations, for patients who needed a drug with limited or no availability in Canada. A doctor would request it for a patient. This is the first time a group of doctors has needed a wide range of drugs for a group of patients. This is a first that we must learn from.
When the special access program was launched, it met certain needs. We are realizing that those needs are going to be felt again, unanimously around the world. I think that what we are experiencing should guide us in changing existing structures so we are better equipped to respond to needs quickly and much more appropriately. As it stands, the special access program has made it possible to import drugs more quickly for a large number of patients and in large quantities, and that is a first.