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Application for Drug Scheduling

PLEASE NOTE: All materials submitted as part of an application for drug scheduling must be submitted in English. Further, the meetings of the National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee are conducted in English.

The following is intended to assist in the preparation of scheduling applications, and is a summary of the provisions set out in Bylaw No. 2 and the Rules of Procedure. In the event of any inconsistency or conflict between the provisions of the By-law or Rules of Procedure and these guidelines, the provisions of the Rules of Procedure or By-law, as applicable, shall prevail.

In addition to the guidelines below, a sample application for drug scheduling template can be found here.  

All review applications to the National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee (NDSAC) must be based on a specific drug rather than a drug product, and include the following components:

  1. Index
  2. Statement of the requested schedule recommendation
  3. A brief overview of the drug including: conditions for use, safety and efficacy, a description and incidence of adverse reactions, and experience with overdose if relevant
  4. Application of the scheduling factors, with a copy of the appropriate literature citations including literature search parameters. In keeping with the cascading principle of drug scheduling, an application of the scheduling factors for all schedules should be included, in support of the scheduling request
  5. Proposed product labelling, including labelling standards or monographs prepared for the Drugs Directorate (where applicable)
  6. Results of consumer usage studies in a market consistent with the scheduling request regarding compliance and related issues, such as reading and comprehension studies of labels and patient information (for non-prescription drugs)
  7. Drug status in other countries
  8. Exposure assessment (market penetration)
  9. When the scheduling request is pursuant to a deregulatory proposal, the applicant will provide the Committee with a summary of the background information used and evaluation prepared by the Therapeutic Products Directorate reviewers.

The submission must be readable and concise (the majority of submissions are between 50-150 pages,excluding references – the appropriate length depends largely on the nature of the drug to be reviewed). Information packages that are not completely legible will be rejected. The Secretariat will communicate with any applicant whose submission appears excessively long to discuss options.

The Committee strives to expedite scheduling decisions and to avoid unnecessary delays to manufacturers and other interested parties. Accordingly, parties contemplating a future scheduling recommendation request are advised to contact NAPRA as early as possible so that a specific processing timetable can be planned and Committee time appropriated.

At least 60 days before the Committee meeting is scheduled, NAPRA must receive a digital copy of the submission documents in PDF format, along with payment of the drug scheduling fee via electronic funds transfer (EFT). For more information on the EFT process or to request an invoice for payment, please contact the NDSAC secretariat at least 3 weeks prior to the submission deadline.

An independent validation of the submitted material and additional research may be contracted by the Committee, to supplement the individual member’s private study.

NAPRA will post notice of each review or reassessment and particulars of the submission on the NAPRA website with an invitation to any party who may be interested in the submission to become an Interested Party and have an opportunity to be heard. Notice can also be served by email, by fax, by mail, by courier, or in person. Individuals who have subscribed to the National Drug Schedules (NDS) Updates will be specifically notified.

To request Interested Party Status, parties must complete the "Application for Interested Party Status" form and send to the NDSAC secretariat no later than 45 days prior to the NDSAC meeting. Once NDSAC has ruled on who will be granted standing as an Interested Party, a list of such parties, with contact information, shall be prepared and forwarded to all interested parties with a direction that any information or materials which they wish to file must also be sent to each of the interested parties named on the list.

An Interested Party (IP) can request information or a copy of any document related to a review or reassessment of the applicant or another IP. If the information is not provided as requested within 10 days, the information will be refused as evidence in the review or reassessment hearing, unless NDSAC agrees with the reason(s) for not complying with the request.

These “interrogatories” and responses to these interrogatories must follow a prescribed format (see Rules of Procedure). Copies of the request and the response must be filed with the NDSAC secretariat and must be received within time limits directed by NDSAC.

There are three possible negative responses to an interrogatory:

  1. The information requested is felt to be non-relevant;
  2. The information requested is not available, in which case alternative information must be provided; or
  3. The information requested is felt to be confidential.

A copy of the response must be filed with the NDSAC secretariat.

Reasons for not providing the information requested must be stated in each instance. The validity of these reasons will be assessed by NDSAC. Depending on the results of its assessment, the NDSAC can demand that the information be provided, or that alternate or abridged information be provided.

Any document provided to NDSAC will be on the public record unless the provider requests that it be held confidential and NDSAC agrees to its confidentiality, in which case an abridged version will be made available to the public, or at the least, a record of the claim for the document’s confidentiality.

NDSAC may need to study the actual document for which confidential status is being claimed or it may arrange for the claim for confidentiality to be dealt with by other means: i.e. by conference, before a commissioner of oaths or by the Committee during the oral portion of the review or reassessment proceeding (see NDSAC Drug Scheduling Rules of Procedure re: Confidentiality).

An Interested Party may request disclosure of a confidential document by filing a request and/or any material in support of the reasons for public disclosure with NDSAC. A response to such a request must be provided within 10 days.

The applicant and IPs are entitled to present before the Committee. A delegation of up to three representatives may attend on behalf of the organization. Twenty minutes will be allotted for the presentation, with an additional 15 to 20 minutes for Committee questions and answers.

The Canada Evidence Act applies to all drug scheduling reviews. NDSAC may require any Interested Party or their solicitor to submit information considered necessary for a review. NDSAC can also request the attendance of any other person believed to have information relevant to the proceeding.

NDSAC may call for verification by affidavit of any information brought forward. Affidavits are to be filed with the Executive Director of NAPRA.

Non-compliance with any of NDSAC’s requests can result in delays in proceedings or even suspension of the Interested Party’s participation or dismissal of the application. NDSAC may refer issues of law to the appropriate court, during which time review proceedings could be delayed.

NDSAC’s proposed recommendations (i.e. the “interim recommendation”) and the reasons for these proposed recommendations will be published on the NAPRA website and subsequently forwarded to NAPRA’s Board of Directors within 7 days of publication.

An Interested Party or the applicant may request a reassessment or a review or variation to an interim recommendation prior to it becoming a final recommendation. Such requests must be received in writing within 30 days of the recommendation being posted to the NAPRA website.

NAPRA’s Board of Directors will confirm or reject the interim recommendation or direct that a reassessment be conducted within 15 days of the end of the 30-day review period. The final recommendation (and the reasons) will then be published unless a reassessment has been deemed by NDSAC to be in the public interest.

Unless NAPRA decides to direct a new hearing, the interim recommendation will become a final recommendation within 15 days of the end of the 30-day review period, subject to NAPRA’s exercising its discretion to re-hear, review, vary or confirm the interim recommendation or final recommendation in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and Bylaw No. 2.

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