• We must kill plastic to save ourselves

    … once an issue transforms into a human health concern, it becomes far more likely to be taken up by our elected leaders, noticed by the general public and consequently solved… What we are witnessing now is the genesis of another human health problem that I believe has the potential to dominate public debate over the next decade: the discovery that tiny plastic particles are permeating every human on earth.

  • Universal pharmacare the right prescription for Canada

    the Parliamentary Budget Office calculates that while universal pharmacare would cost governments $7 billion annually, it would provide Canadians on the whole with net savings of $8.1 billion a year.
    To put it another way, any increase in taxes attributable to pharmacare would be more than compensated for by out-of-pocket savings… perhaps this report is a sign that, finally, this eminently sensible idea is gaining political traction in Ottawa.

  • More talk about universal pharmacare in Canada, but still no action

    Since the Royal Commission on Health Services issued its recommendations on reforming still wet-behind-the-ears medicare in 1964, there have been dozens upon dozens of earnest reports, each saying more or less the same thing and each greeted with bons mots, then dutifully filed on a dusty shelf… The report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, predictably, called for Canada’s patchwork of private and public drug plans to be replaced with a national single-payer pharmacare system.

  • Canada should implement national single-payer pharmacare, MPs say

    … the all-party committee on health made 18 recommendations, including expanding the Canada Health Act to cover prescription drugs dispensed outside of hospitals; creating a unified list of drugs that would qualify for public coverage; and asking the provinces, territories and the federal government to share the cost of a national pharmacare program. The goal… would be to ensure all Canadians get the medications they need, while also reining in the country’s per-capita drug spending and drug prices, both of which are among the highest in the world.

  • The case for decriminalizing drugs

    Politicians and the public often oversimplify the decriminalization debate, assuming those who don’t forbid drug use must therefore condone it. But we should all be able to agree on a few things: it’s better if fewer people have drug-related problems, and it’s better if fewer people die… In truth, we have little to show for the vast societal resources consumed by our current policy, aside from overburdened police, courts and prisons. Put simply, tough drug laws don’t result in fewer drug-related problems and deaths. They do the opposite.

  • Before voting, understand these facts about health care

    1. Canada’s spending on health care is near the bottom of the pack… 2. Canada has fewer doctors and nurses than most countries… 3. Finding “efficiencies” in the health system will be difficult… Canadian health care is already administratively lean… 4. Canada has work to do to improve care for everyone. Despite universal health coverage, equitable access to care is a problem in Canada… our wait times remain among the highest of the countries surveyed…

  • Knowing drug prices enhances quality of care

    … doctors and nurse practitioners have little knowledge of how much drugs actually cost. They currently have no simple and reliable way to know and communicate drug prices to patients. As a result, already time-strapped prescribers consciously choose to ignore the subject of drug cost. This causes direct harm to patients and their families, worsens cost efficiency and erodes the very sustainability of universal health care.

  • What should and shouldn’t be covered by medicare?

    The inconsistent coverage of mental health care (and psychological services in particular), home care and prescription drugs has been the subject of much debate, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
    If we are going to have a semblance of a national health system across 13 provinces and territories – without forgetting the large federal health system – it’s important to have equitable (not equal) access for all Canadians. Yet, the variations in coverage between jurisdictions have never been more pronounced.

  • Federal health agencies need dramatic overhaul, report says

    Between 1988 and 2007, the federal government created a number of arm’s-length agencies to address various health policy issues – among them, developing a mental-health strategy, collecting national data, reviewing the effectiveness of drugs and devices. But a new report says the eight agencies, known collectively as the pan-Canadian health organizations (PCHOs), need a fundamental revamp to eliminate duplication and address yawning policy gaps.

  • Ottawa takes an important first step on Inuit welfare

    The federal government’s promise, announced last week, that it will eradicate tuberculosis from Inuit communities by 2030 (and reduce its occurrence by 50 per cent by 2025) shows a welcome and overdue seriousness about a tragic problem that has for too long been ignored. But to succeed the government will have to make a real dent in socio-economic problems on which it has often talked big but failed to deliver.