• Release full data on drug company payments to doctors

    Full disclosure will make physicians more cautious about accepting payments that may influence how they treat their patients, and researchers can actually measure the effects of those fees on doctors’ prescribing habits… pharmaceutical companies have made it clear to the government they will not voluntarily report how much they pay individual doctors. Now the government must step in as quickly as possible and force the issue.

  • Passing laws one step in war on opioid overdoses

    … now there’s an urgent need to ensure its implementation is not bound up in bureaucratic red tape… provincial and territorial health authorities must not impose… unduly burdensome operational requirements that effectively delay their scaleup… such bureaucratic delays are deadly… there is a pressing need to expand access to treatment options for people with problematic substance use…

  • Demand for youth mental health services is exploding. How universities and business are scrambling to react

    … it should not be the responsibility of post-secondary institutions to provide mental health services. It is their job is to provide education… The province this month announced $6 million in additional annual funding to support mental health services at Ontario’s colleges and universities… But with 44 post-secondary institutions… experts say it’s not enough. One-time funding for interventions isn’t a long-term fix

  • How to end Canada’s biggest public health emergency

    In 2015, more Canadians were killed by opioid-related overdoses than lost their lives at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic… no effort to confront or assuage the opioid epidemic can succeed without knowing who is prescribing what, to whom, and in what quantities… Given the scope and depth of the human catastrophe at hand, the lack of surveillance data is frankly shocking… this big of an emergency demands big, course-changing action.

  • Canada must (and can) take control of drug prices

    … $13.7-billion in patented medicines were sold in this country in 2014; if Canadians had paid the OECD average instead of our own inflated prices, the bill would have been $3.6-billion less… Prices for identical drugs vary between provinces, for no good reason; brand-name drugs are too often prescribed when similarly effective and much cheaper generics would do the job; and generic prices in Canada are also among the highest in the world.

  • We can improve mental-health care by fighting poverty

    We know that poverty aggravates our mental health, but we are not investing in anti-poverty strategies. Why is that? … Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent promise to provide $70-million to target mental-health care will fund more services and expand the number of professionals, but those dollars will not reach the people who need it most.

  • Five things to know about Ontario’s new youth pharmacare program

    The province already pays for prescription medications for about 600,000 people in that age group, more than 370,000 of them social assistance recipients, the rest children and youth with catastrophic annual drug bills. Outside those two categories, children and youth take relatively few prescription drugs on average… Rather than expand medicare to cover all prescription drugs, Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has said she would concentrate first on reducing prices and improving access in other ways.

  • Canada can learn from U.S. attack on high drug prices

    … the U.S. and Canada have a fragmented patch work of public and private drug plans. Where you work, where you live, or your age, ultimately dictate whether you are eligible for drug coverage and determine the generosity of your benefits… in Canada, the lack of a national drug plan leaves at least $4 billion in savings on the table every year, according to the latest research in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

  • Ontario NDP has a political winner in universal pharmacare plan

    According to the Ministry of Health, in 2015, 2.2 million Ontarians had no drug coverage; patients spent $2.5 billion out of pocket on prescriptions. In a 2015 Angus Reid poll, 25 per cent of Ontarians reported not filling a prescription, skipping doses or splitting pills because of the cost. And this is unique among countries with universal health care…

  • Andrea Horwath’s pharmacare proposal makes good sense

    We are the only country in the world with universal health care that doesn’t also offer universal drug coverage, and for this we have suffered. Our existing hodgepodge of private drug plans and patchy public coverage puts too many Canadians at risk. At any given time, thousands face aggravated illness and needless suffering because they can’t afford the rising price of drugs