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Canada dealing with drug shortages

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- A drug shortage in Canada has pharmacy customers leaving with only partially filled prescriptions or having to accept substitute medications, authorities said.

Dozens of generic versions of antidepressants and antibiotics, including penicillin, have been in short supply across Canada for the past six months, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News reported Thursday.

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One Nova Scotia pharmacist called the ongoing shortage frustrating and disappointing.

"We're doing the best that we can under the circumstances that we have," Don Kyte, a pharmacist in the Halifax area for 37 years, said. "What we're doing is we're splitting medications, we're going back to the doctor for alternate medications."

Twenty partially filled prescriptions were sitting at Kyte's Pharmasave in Cole Harbor Wednesday.

People picking up partially filled prescriptions must come back later for the remainder, he said.

"There are unintended consequences, and that's really the issue," Kyte said. "It's increasing the price of health in Nova Scotia because the doctors are being distracted, we're being distracted, and people are having to come back a second or third time, so overall it's very disappointing."

It's not clear what's causing the shortage, but manufacturing and pricing changes in Ontario may be to blame, Kyte said.

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"There are rumors here and there, whether it's supply, or ability of raw ingredients, or something else. We're not apprised of any end to this."

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