Canada Intends to Further Restrict Promotion of Opioids

Regulatory NewsRegulatory News | 22 June 2018 |  By 

In an effort to combat Canada's opioid crisis, Health Canada this week said it intends to restrict the marketing and advertising of opioid drugs.
“Evidence suggests that the marketing and advertising of opioids has contributed to increased prescription sales and availability of opioids,” the regulatory authority said. From presentations sponsored by opioid manufacturers at conferences to advertisements published in medical journals, these practices “can take many forms of direct and indirect activities and incentives.”
Manufacturers of opioids with a presence in the Canadian market are “strictly prohibited” from advertising to the public, but not to healthcare professionals, according to Health Canada.
Regulations published by Health Canada on 2 May set forth additional authority for the Minister of Health to require implemented risk management plans from opioid manufacturers. These plans must include the preclearance of all materials related to opioids and provided to healthcare professionals to safeguard the compliance of their marketing clearances.
However, Health Canada’s new notice indicates the regulator intends to restrict advertising practices even further by early next year, pending a comment period to close on 18 July.
Proposed regulations relate to the scope of opioid marketing and advertising, as well as the potential risks, benefits and impacts of these practices on a range of populations and on regular mandatory reporting to Health Canada and the public from opioid manufacturers.
A national report the regulator released this month shows the number of opioid-related deaths in Canada saw a 34% increase in 2017, with a total of 3,987 vs. 2,978 the year prior. 


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