Health Canada is now advising Canadians to consider a second opinion on any new drug before it is prescribed.
Health Minister Rona Ambrose said in a blog post that she is taking a “wait-and-see” approach when it comes to approving new drugs.
The Canadian Association of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (CAPIA) said in February it is urging Canadians to be cautious when choosing new medicines, noting there are many factors that go into deciding whether to take a drug.
It said this includes the risk of side effects and the benefits and risks of each option.
It also said Canadians should be aware that the government’s drug review process is still in its early stages and that drug reviews have not yet reached a consensus on new medicines.
“This is still an open process and there is no certainty on which drugs will be approved or the timeframe for the decision-making,” CAPIA said in its statement.
“There are many issues that need to be considered by a medical professional and there are also many factors to consider, including potential side effects.”
The association also said the decision to prescribe a drug should be made in consultation with a doctor, not a pharmacist.
The government has said it will review the process when it issues new drugs to ensure it is not causing harm.
This could mean the use of more than one drug for the same condition, the association said.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by David Gregorio)