Canada's online drug availability reporting system lists 350 products in short supply. That means at least once a day pharmacist Victor Chu sees patients looking for medication they can't find elsewhere.
"We also have pharmacies calling us asking us to — we're a compounding pharmacy — to make up medications. We can actually mimic the commercial product that's not currently available."
Patient Nicholas Read was surprised by when his pharmacist told him she did not have the inhaler he has been using for years.
"I was told that there was none available and that it wouldn't be available until July," said Read. "She said shortages were typical in pharmacies, but this year they are seeing more shortages than ever before."
Jeff Morrison of the Canadian Pharmacists Association says one reason for shortages is a lack of ingredients.
"The raw materials used to make the drugs are being sourced from countries like China and India and there's quality assurance problems."