Rapid monitoring of the Impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on trends in drug supply and associated clinical outcomes
The impact of the ongoing 2019 Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on public health infrastructure and the broader health care system is a critical concern for policymakers, health care providers, and the general public. One major area of importance has been the impact of the pandemic on Canada’s drug supply. The supply chain for prescription drugs can be taxed because of surges in demand associated with panic shopping, exacerbating existing drug shortages or causing shortages where none previously existed. Also there has been many announcements and misinformation regarding the repurposing of existing medications as potential treatments for COVID‑19 which may increase demand for these drugs, despite limited or poor quality supporting evidence and potential harms associated with their use. Studies are needed to understand the impact of the pandemic on drug supply and utilization, and to confirm or refute anecdotal and theoretical reports of disease improvement and/or worsening due to the use of these medications.Our group of researchers from across Canada plans to use established infrastructure and national and provincial data to provide a rapid-response national picture of prescription drug use within the COVID‑19 pandemic and measure and monitor the consequences of any shifts in medication use.