Health Canada’s Section 56 Class Exemption for Practitioners Prescribing Methadone to Inpatients in a Hospital Setting

On Friday, March 17, 2017, Health Canada issued a class exemption to section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for practitioners prescribing methadone to inpatients in a hospital setting. In short, practitioners no longer have to obtain a temporary methadone s.56 exemption in order to continue the treatment of a patient who is admitted to a hospital and was taking methadone prior to the hospitalization. For all terms and conditions applicable to this exemption, please read the letters to stakeholders from Health Canada by clicking on the following links:

Exemption Methadone Info – ENG

Exemption Temp Methadone – ENG

Exemption Methadone Info – FR

Exemption Temp Methadone – FR

CSHP has been advocating this class exemption since 2010. It first provided comments on a technical discussion document from Health Canada, then participated in a teleconference on changes proposed by Health Canada to the exemption process to authorize methadone use in hospitals, and subsequently wrote to Health Canada to reiterate its position in support of a class exemption. Since then, CSHP has educated the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada about the shortcomings of the process for individual, temporary exemptions and persisted in pressing the Office of Controlled Substance for a class exemption.

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