Alberta Province secures large supply of children’s pain relief medication

News Release
Province secures large supply of children’s pain relief medication

To combat the shortage of children’s pain and fever medicine, the province has secured five million bottles of children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen for Alberta families.

For two months, parents and caregivers across Canada have faced a shortage of children’s pain and fever medication. This shortage is placing additional stress on families and on the health system, as more Albertans are visiting pharmacies, physicians and hospitals. To ensure children’s pain and fever medication is readily available across the province and bring relief to children and families, Alberta’s government and Alberta Health Services have secured a supply of five million units of acetaminophen and ibuprofen from Atabay Pharmacueticals and Fine Chemicals.

“Cold and flu season is always difficult on young children and their families and causes additional strain on our health system, especially at our children’s hospitals. The shortage of children’s pain relief medication is exacerbating these challenges and causing a tremendous amount of anxiety for families. We are working cooperatively with Health Canada and I urge them to expedite all necessary approvals in the coming days so we can load this massive shipment of pain relief medication on to the airplanes we’ve secured to bring this pain relief medication to Alberta families and children. This is how a cooperative federalism should work.”

Danielle Smith, Premier

“I want to thank Alberta Health Services for taking on the task for procuring this valuable medication and all our health-care professionals during this challenging time. The current situation has also meant busy hospitals and doctors’ offices, as parents run out of options to treat their little ones. The strain on our system is real, and we are doing everything in our power to ease the burden on our health-care system in whatever way we can.” 

Jason Copping, Minister of Health

Alberta’s government and Alberta Health Services are working with Health Canada on completing the drug establishment licensing approval process. Once the approval is granted, the medication will be delivered to Alberta over 10 air shipments. As soon as the medication arrives in the province, it will be distributed to community and retail pharmacies so that parents and caregivers can purchase it for their children. Because Alberta’s government has secured so many bottles of the pain and fever medication, it is expected that Albertans will be able to find it on pharmacy shelves in the same way they have previously found name-brand medicines. However, individual pharmacies will have the ability to issue the medicine from behind the counter if they are concerned about their store’s supply.

Atabay Pharmaceuticals and Fine Chemicals already has Health Canada approval for its raw ingredients and currently sends the same doses that Alberta is working to acquire to other nations like the United States and the United Kingdom.

“I am grateful for the work of teams within AHS and government to work together quickly to source additional pain and fever medication for our youngest Albertans, and also to all those providing care.”

Dr. John Cowell, official administrator, AHS

“We appreciate the efforts our government has made to improve access to the supply of pain and fever medication for children. Alberta’s community pharmacists have used their expertise and enhanced scope of practice during this shortage to try to source ingredients, prescribe and compound medication to meet the needs of sick children, but there simply hasn’t been enough supply. This announcement will ensure that Alberta pharmacists have the essential supply to help families in their communities.”

Margaret Wing, CEO, Alberta Pharmacists’ Association

“The Alberta College of Pharmacy is pleased that the federal and provincial governments have worked together to secure this new source of acetaminophen and ibuprofen for children. During the shortage, pharmacy teams across Alberta have been doing their best to support families access these medications, including compounding them from raw ingredients. When acquiring these products, parents and caregivers of children are encouraged to speak with their pharmacy team to ensure they receive instructions for proper use.”

Greg Eberhart, registrar, Alberta College of Pharmacy

Quick facts

The medication will be manufactured at a Health Canada-approved facility overseas.

Packaging will follow Health Canada guidelines.

The retail cost to the consumer will be in line with the average cost for this type of medication.

Drugs imported to Canada must meet safety, quality and efficacy regulations set out by Health Canada in order to be authorized for import.

Many western countries already import products from Atabay, including:

United States of America

United Kingdom








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