Health Canada is speeding up its drug review process in order to approve replacement medications quickly in an attempt to ease the drug shortage affecting the country.

Whereas it usually takes around six months to complete an assessment and approve a drug for use in Canada, authorities are hoping to cut that down to one month.

Canada has been gripped by a dug shortage due to significant cuts to production levels at Sandoz’s manufacturing facility located in Boucherville, Quebec and, as a result, Canada has requested pharmaceutical companies to find alternative sources to replace drugs that are in short supply.

Canada federal health Minister Leona Aglukkaq also confirmed that new applications will be reviewed within 24 hours, but reiterated Health Canada’s stance to ensure that every drug is safe before it is approved.

"One thing that has to be very clear is we are not going to skip any process in ensuring that the product is safe," added Aglukkaq.

Aglukkag had initially commented that it may take a few weeks in order to begin processing new applications, a statement which caused considerable dismay amongst health officials with a number of hospitals and pharmacies running increasingly low on injectable medicines.

Sandoz has been forced to curb production levels at its facility in order to complete measures to appease US Food and Drug Administration concerns about quality standards, while the plant was further crippled by a fire earlier this month.