• Take profit motive out of drug research

    “for pharmaceutical companies, there is little profit incentive to invest in drugs that quickly cure patients; medicine for chronic conditions presents a more tempting return on investment… ”Since the rise of neoliberalism, governments have increasingly stepped away from research in favour of letting profit-oriented private companies take the lead. The result has been a huge increase in lifestyle drugs, while life-saving drugs are often just a byproduct… Our governments need to reclaim their lead role in research and development so that they follow society’s needs instead of profits.

  • National pharmacare ‘blueprint’ will be unveiled next spring

    … the provinces do want to know “who is going to pay for the transformation, and how is the pie going to be divided after that?” … “It’s very important to provinces and territories that the federal commitment is there, it’s substantial, and that provinces and territories have confidence in that cost-sharing and that federal contribution, and that federal contribution will be there today and also into the future.”

  • Pharmacare and Politics

    Provincial drug plans today pay less than half of the total cost of prescription drugs; the rest is paid by private insurance plans or out of patients’ pockets. A set of single-payer “first-dollar” drug plans would likely more than double provincial and territorial government spending on drugs. Unless there are accompanying large increases in federal transfers, those governments are unlikely to agree to this approach. Increased federal transfers, however, would ultimately require higher federal taxes, making federal politicians less enthusiastic about this option.

  • After legalizing pot, is decriminalizing other drugs the logical next step?

    … Public-health officials have long recognized a reality that elected politicians are only belatedly appreciating: Drug use and dependency are best addressed with the tools of health policy, not those of criminal justice… decriminalization… upholds worthwhile social norms – that making, smuggling and trafficking illegal drugs is wrong – while acknowledging that those in the grip of dependency are ill.

  • National pharmacare will require tax hike, former budget watchdog warns

    … there’s a solid argument to be made for national pharmacare, because it would help Canadians save significantly on their out-of-pocket drug expenses and create more consistency in terms of health costs across the country. The 2017 parliamentary budget office study estimated such a plan would save Canadians more than $4-billion every year on prescriptions. But… the federal balance sheet would become unsustainable if it assumed the full cost of such a program.

  • There’s a big legal battle between the provinces and the tobacco industry, but it’s being fought at a snail’s pace

    It has a clear strategy: Delay, delay and delay… Barring further delays, the first cost-recovery lawsuit is slated to go to trial in New Brunswick on Nov. 4, 2019. That’s almost two decades after legal proceedings began, and a reminder of how our courts operate at a snail’s pace. Meanwhile, in the U.S., these issues have largely been litigated and resolved.

  • Rare diseases, expensive drugs – Health Canada showdown coming

    When Canada’s health ministers sit down together on Thursday and Friday in Winnipeg, talks are expected to revolve around Ottawa’s development of a national pharmacare plan. B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix wants that plan to include a mechanism to grapple with expensive drugs for rare diseases – a fast-growing cost pressure on the public purse.

  • A nurse just lost her freedom to criticize health care. That’s bad for everyone

    The alleged harm was to the sensibilities of some nurses in the Macklin nursing home. (We note the irony that, while no one has contested Strom’s assertion that her grandfather received substandard care, his alleged harm was of no relevance to the hearing or the decision.) There should be a much higher bar for finding someone guilty of professional misconduct where the alleged victims are not members of the public, but peers, and where the nature of the offence is speech.

  • A prescription for curing Ontario’s Ministry of Health

    Continuity of care is the vertical integration of systems to create an environment of quality patient care over time. Simply, it is the coordination of medical services across hospitals, clinics and the community that enables individuals to receive comprehensive and efficient care… In order for our health-care system to develop immunity against political epidemics, our health agency should be completely independent of the government.

  • “Public Option” Could Fill Gaps in Dental Coverage

    A universal single-payer dental insurance plan, or a public default plan that would cover everyone who doesn’t have an approved private plan, would ensure that no one would have to forgo urgently needed dental care for financial reasons. If properly managed, a public plan that anyone could use as an option would also put competitive pressure on private insurance, and indirectly on the dentists and allied professionals who supply the services.