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Diabetes Canada is urging Health Canada to take public and proactive measures to protect Canada’s insulin supply considering recent news regarding Americans living with diabetes crossing the border to purchase insulin in Canada and that the U.S. administration will allow importation of Health Canada-approved medicines, risking potential drug shortages in our country.

We sympathize with all individuals and families who cannot access the insulin that they need. Insulin is life-sustaining therapy and people who are in difficult circumstances will understandably take measures to do what is needed to access it.

“Given how critical it is that Canadians who need it have full access to insulin, we are requesting that Health Canada act immediately and decisively to ensure our citizens will not be impacted by the U.S. situation through possible changes in supply,” says Dr. Jan Hux, president & CEO, Diabetes Canada. “The health of Canadians living with diabetes must not be negatively impacted as any interruptions in the supply of insulin could have potentially dangerous consequences.” In a letter to the Health Minister, Diabetes Canada reinforced the need for swift action.  

Canadians living with diabetes are not immune to issues of accessibility & affordability of medications. While drug pricing in Canada is different than the U.S., we are faced with our own inequities in the health-care system where Canadians living with diabetes do not all have timely & affordable access to appropriate services & treatments, including insulin, depending on which province or territory they live.

A person with diabetes usually incurs medical costs which are much higher than those of a person without diabetes, including insulin and/or other diabetes drugs and therapeutics. People face these costs no matter where they live in Canada. Public and private coverage help with this financial burden, though these vary greatly across the country and between plans. Some plans cover almost all costs for all the medication, supplies and devices which are needed to adequately manage diabetes, while others provide little or no coverage for these same items. 

Diabetes Canada has been calling on all governments to support the implementation of a nation-wide diabetes strategy, Diabetes 3600. This will create an environment that promotes health and wellness, increases screening for diabetes, monitors health outcomes, and removes barriers of access to care and medications, including insulin.

Diabetes Canada also joined several health-care organizations in a sending a letter to the Honourable Minister Petitpas Taylor requesting that Health Canada provide clarity and assurances to Canadians that U.S. legislation will not inadvertently disrupt Canada’s pharmaceutical supply and negatively impact patient care through greater drug shortages.

“We hope the government gives more clarity and assurance to Canadians living with diabetes that insulin supply is protected as the escalating news coverage may cause unnecessary worry,” says Dr. Hux.

Author: Sherry Calder

Category Tags: Advocacy & Policy, Health-care;

Region: National

About Diabetes Canada

Diabetes Canada is the registered national charitable organization that is making the invisible epidemic of diabetes visible and urgent. Diabetes Canada partners with Canadians to End Diabetes through:

  • Resources for health-care professionals on best practices to care for people with diabetes;
  • Advocacy to governments, schools and workplaces; and
  • Funding world-leading Canadian research to improve treatments and find a cure.

Contact us

For more information or to book an interview

Sherry Calder, Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications