Government of Canada Passes “Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa’s Law) – Modernized Patient Safety Laws for Drugs and Medical Devices

On December 6, 2013 it was announced that a new patient safety legislation would be introduced known as the “Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa’s Law)”. The law is named after Vanessa Young, the daughter of MP Terence Young, who died of a heart attack after taking an unsafe prescription drug… [Read our Original Blog Post Regarding the Announcement of Vanessa’s Law Here]

Since the announcement in 2013 the law has passed and marks a major milestone in Canada’s drug safety history. This Act will protect Canadians from unsafe medicine and enable the Government to:

  • Compel drug companies to revise labels to clearly reflect health risk information in plain language, including updates for health warnings for children;
  • Compel drug companies to do further testing on a product, including when issues are identified with certain at-risk populations such as children;
  • Impose tough new penalties for unsafe products, including jail time and new fines of up to $5 million per day instead of the current $5,000; and
  • Recall unsafe products.

The Framework commits Health Canada to a set of concrete initiatives that will make easy-to-understand regulatory, health, and safety information more available to Canadians.

For more information visit the Government of Canada press release here:

Health Canada’s explanation of the laws implications can be found here:

The full document can be viewed through the Parliament of Canada Website here:

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