09/13/2013 02:06 EDT | Updated 11/13/2013 05:12 EST

Ottawa says rules encouraging drug makers to post shortages will help patients

EDMONTON - The federal government hopes a set of guidelines for the pharmaceutical industry will help prevent drug shortages.

Under the guidelines, drug makers are to post all shortages as soon as possible to a website that was set up last year.

The idea is that governments and health providers can get this information in a timely way to prevent and better react to a drug shortage.

Drug makers are also to post alternative medications that could be used by patients and estimate how the long a drug shortage will last.

Health Minister Rona Ambrose says the guidelines will give physicians and other health providers clear information to make the best decisions for their patients.