Harper Government launches drug labelling initiative

16 June 2013 (Last Updated June 16th, 2013 18:30)

The Harper Government has launched a new plain language labelling initiative in a bid to enhance drug safety for Canadians.

Drug labelling initiative launch announcement

The Harper Government has launched a new plain language labelling initiative in a bid to enhance drug safety for Canadians.

Announced by the Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq, the initiative aims to improve the safe use of drugs by making drug labels and safety information easier to read and understand.

Accompanying Minister Aglukkaq at the launch was Member of Parliament for Oakville Terence Young.

Aglukkaq said that many Canadians rely on drugs in order to maintain and improve their health.

She added: "I am pleased to announce that our Government will be making plain language a requirement on drug packages in order to help prevent adverse drug reactions, medication errors and protect Canadian patients."

Drugs should be consumed as per the information provided on the label or package so that they work properly and minimise the risk of harm. However, existing drug product information is not always easy to comprehend.

Canadians are subject to unnecessary harms as some drug labels, packaging and names are hard to understand or sound similar to other drugs.

"This new approach will make safety information more accessible to health care practitioners and all Canadians," Aglukkaq concluded.

The drug labelling initiative is expected to benefit families and help decrease countywide strains on the Canadian healthcare system. It also aims to reduce preventable harm.

Health Canada will launch the initiative by targeting improvements to safety regulations. These include requiring evidence that drug names are not misleading, providing guidance and education to consumers, and by engaging with key stakeholders along the way.


Image: Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq joined by MP for Etobicoke-Lakeview Bernard Trottier and MP for Oakville Terence Young to announce the drug labelling initiative. Photo courtesy of Health Canada.