Dealing with drug shortage issues

My manager has asked me to participate on a team to look at drug shortage issues and develop a plan that includes nurses’ role in minimizing wastage. What regulatory principles should I consider while working in this planning team?

A drug shortage situation requires an organizational strategy that includes a focus on client safety.

Nursing standards contribute to public protection and inform nurses of their accountabilities. To minimize the chance of error, the College expects all nurses to comply with legislation and the College’s practice documents. During your participation in the planning team, you are accountable for using your knowledge, skill and judgment to identify creative practice solutions and for making decisions that will ensure the best possible outcomes for clients.

To help plan your organizational strategy, involve the entire health care team in some way to help identify: 

  • strategies to promote client safety and continuity of treatment
  • potential treatment options
  • most appropriate care provider to manage/minimize wastages of drugs
  • organization/LHIN collaboration and management of the issue
  • follow-up of evolving issues from the wastage minimization strategy 

Also, develop policies and procedures to support new practices and refer to the resources listed below.

If you have questions about the supply or distribution of drug products during a drug shortage, or about related Health Ministry strategies, contact the Ministry directly at 1 866-212-2272 or

Page last reviewed July 12, 2017