• Doctors have no idea how much drugs cost — a Toronto physician wants to change that

    About 1.7 million Canadians didn’t fill prescriptions because they couldn’t afford them. As a result of that, 303,000 people reported seeing their family doctor, 93,000 ended up in emergency, and 26,000 were admitted to hospital… A Toronto MD is urging the province to mandate drug cost transparency by having prices pop up in the electronic medical record, so when doctors write prescriptions they can talk about affordability with patients.

  • Use of ‘catastrophic’ drug plan surges in Ontario, study says

    … in 2005, there were 20 drugs on the Canadian market that cost more than $10,000 annually; by 2015, that number had risen to 124. But drug costs are not the only factor… In Canada, drug insurance is provided principally by employers as part of benefits packages for employees, but an increasing number of people are self-employed or have precarious work… employers, facing increasing costs pressures, are also hiking deductibles and reducing the number of drugs covered

  • The ‘radical paradigm shift’ that’s changing Ontario’s oversight system for health professionals

    Appetite for significant reform is growing, even among regulators, who are now looking at a “radical paradigm shift.” … Under the system of self-regulation, professions govern themselves through 26 colleges, which get their legislative authority from the provincial government. They investigate complaints, discipline wrongdoers, set practice standards and administer quality assurance programs to ensure professionals are up to snuff.

  • Kathleen Wynne announces $2.1B in new mental health funding over four years

    The new money is over and above the $3.8 billion spent annually on mental health services… The new funding will mean every secondary school in the province will have access to additional mental health professionals with 400 positions created over the next two years. Next year, 12,000 more young people will have community-based therapy and counselling, jumping to 46,000 by 2021-22. There will also be as many as 15 new “youth wellness hubs” over the next four years to help those aged 12 to 25.

  • Canada needs a health-care moonshot — and now is the time

    … four breakthrough technologies that are converging rapidly offer Canada a remarkable opportunity to transform its health-care system, dramatically increasing its quality and accessibility while exponentially decreasing its cost of care. Importantly, these technologies can also significantly enhance Canada’s health-care professionals and employees’ effectiveness in tackling their tough daily challenges.

  • Budget takes small steps toward pharmacare, but path littered with financial, political land mines

    It won’t mean that all drugs will be covered for all people at all times. To control costs, there has to be a formulary of drugs that are covered and policies like generic substitution (not covering brand-name drugs if similar, lower-cost generics are available.) Then there is the deal-breaker, money. Sure, pharmacare could save money, at least theoretically… if bulk buying can bring down prices 25 per cent, if use doesn’t increase notably, and if there is a strict formulary. Lots of ifs.

  • NDP’s universal pharmacare proposal seems a prime target for Liberal burglary

    Canada is alone in having a public healthcare system that does not have a parallel public pharma plan. The House of Commons health committee is set to release a major report on pharmacare next month, which sources suggest will recommend folding prescription drugs into a negotiated national formulary. Through an amendment to Canada Health Act this would allow the provinces to administer the newly expanded coverage.

  • Universal health care’s humble origins

    Viewed solely in economic terms, Britain could not afford the NHS in 1946. That the NHS was created speaks to a conscious decision on the part of government to prioritize health care and social services. Ultimately, what a society can or cannot afford is a policy decision… / The creation of the NHS was a courageous decision by the Labour Party to radically improve the lives of British people. It benefited most sectors of society – hence the continuing broad support for it.

  • Is our health system destined to follow a U.S. trajectory?

    Growing gaps in drug and dental coverage, especially for working-class Canadians with no or inadequate employer benefits, means more lower-income Canadians will skip trips to the dentist or won’t fill prescriptions. Wealth gaps among the provinces means Canadians in some regions will have access to better and more timely care than those in other parts of the country.

  • We need to focus more on mental-health care

    … access to appropriate, effective mental-health care needs to be seen as a basic human right and component of a publicly funded health-care system. / People suffering mental illness were deinstitutionalized without necessary community supports, to be managed by law enforcement and ER staff who lack the skills and facilities to respond respectfully. / The article understates real-world factors (marginalization, social determinants, and access to competent help) that can thwart the potential impacts of even the most cutting-edge research.