In early January there was a national shortage of erythromycin ophthalmic ointment, indicated for the prophylaxis of ophthalmia neonatorum. Since then, there has been a limited supply returned to the market. During a drug shortage, there may be a need to identify and prioritize access. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health collaborated to identify a potential mitigation strategy to support health care providers and patients. It was identified that two algorithms used at London Health Science Centre would support prioritization, screening, and follow up. These tools were adapted for province wide use. The two algorithms are linked below, one on screening and second on response to lab results.
note, these tools are to be used to support health care provider’s assessment
and decision making during the drug shortage. Once
supply of erythromycin is returned to normal stock, routine administration of
the ophthalmic prophylaxis to the eyes of newborns should continue as required
under Regulation 557 Communicable Diseases – General under the Health Promotion
and Protection Act.