Health Care Professionals

Injectable Sodium Bicarbonate Shortage and Recall

Ontario is taking action to address the effects of the recall and shortage of injectable sodium bicarbonate, made by Pfizer Canada Inc.

On June 8, Pfizer, the sole Canadian manufacturer of injectable sodium bicarbonate, issued a backorder notification for this product. Then Pfizer voluntarily recalled two lots of injectable sodium bicarbonate on June 14 because microbial growth was detected during a routine simulation of the manufacturing process in non-marketed product, representing a potential introduction of microorganisms into finished product. The likelihood of patient exposure to the microorganisms is considered to be low; however Pfizer recalled these lots out of an abundance of caution. These lots were distributed in Canada from February to June 2017.

Injectable sodium bicarbonate is used in the treatment of a wide range of ‎conditions including metabolic acidosis, in cardiac surgery, as an antidote to certain poisons, in cases of organ failure and in some types of cancer chemotherapy.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (ministry) has activated the Ministry Emergency Operations Centre and is working closely with health system partners across Ontario as well as its federal, provincial and territorial partners to understand and mitigate the impacts of this shortage.

On June 26, 2017, the ministry released to Ontario’s health system a five point plan to take action to address the effects stemming from shortage and recall. The plan includes:

  1. Monitoring the Situation and its Impact
  2. Making Best Use of Available Product
  3. Identifying Other Sources and Alternatives
  4. Modifying Services
  5. Communications

The ministry will continue to work with partners to minimize the potential impact the injectable sodium bicarbonate supply shortage may have on patients.

Learn more about what is happening and where you can find more information.

For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at 1-866-532-3161
In Toronto, 416-314-5518
TTY 1-800-387-5559
In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
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