• Ottawa should decriminalize all drugs – it’s effective policy

    … It makes sense, for reasons of public health, human rights and fiscal responsibility, to take a less punitive approach to drugs. But none of these arguments for a better, more humane response imply encouraging or condoning drug use. In fact, it is precisely because these substances, whether legal or illegal, can sometimes cause harm that we need to abandon approaches that have demonstrably compounded, rather than reduced, those harms.

  • Ontario Budget 2018: Health Sector Highlights

    If implemented, the health budget is expected to grow by 5% to $61.3 billion.[1] The government is proposing an expansion OHIP+ for seniors, a drug and dental care plan for those without private insurance, and additional funding for mental health, hospitals, home care, long-term care, palliative and end-of-life care and other initiatives discussed in more detail below.

  • Pharmacare: Focus on Canadians who need it most

    Ensuring that Canadians have access to prescription drugs should be a top priority… One single, nationally mandated pharmacare program would mean dissolving every existing provincially funded and employer-funded plan. It would likely mean one single, much smaller formulary (list of drugs), and would create opportunities for potential savings through bulk-buying. It would likely also create a large national bureaucracy and require a massive IT system … a national pharmacare plan may cover less than their existing plan.

  • National pharmacare is possible – but it won’t come easy

    While a single, national plan would theoretically save money on drug purchases, it would also mean a large-scale shifting of costs from the private sector to the public sector – a net $7.3-billion annually… The single biggest impediment to pharmacare is the unwillingness of federal, provincial and territorial governments to absorb those costs and then increase taxes to pay the bill – even if the consumer comes out paying less in the long run.

  • Opioid addiction should be treated with prescribed medication when possible, new Canadian guideline says

    The guideline… outlines a step-by-step approach that promotes the use of relatively inexpensive medication that reduces cravings for opioid drugs… opioid addiction should be treated as a chronic disease in doctors’ offices, similar to diabetes or hypertension. The guideline advises against detox programs that discharge patients after several days, with no further addiction treatment or medication to support recovery… at least 80 to 90 per cent of patients will relapse after discharge

  • Bill Morneau sends a mixed message on national pharmacare

    What’s irresponsible is preserving the current system, or amending it in a way that keeps drug costs uncommonly high (Canada has one of the highest per-capita rates of pharmaceutical spending in the OECD). Achieving universal coverage without government bulk-buying is likely to keep the cost curve straining upward… a wholesale reworking of Canada’s drug regime seems like a credible possibility. The Finance Minister should let his new pharmacare czar go where the evidence leads.

  • Morneau prefers a public-private pharmacare plan, but government health committee may disagree

    … the only groups opposing a universal plan are those with skin in the game: private insurers, drug companies and pharmacists, who stand to lose if drug prices fall under a public plan… the House of Commons health committee prepares to table its own report on a national pharmacare program later this month, after nearly two years of study… it’s likely the committee members will recommend some form of universal plan, which could place them at odds with the finance minister’s vision

  • Bill Morneau’s unwise decision to backtrack on pharmacare

    When Canadian medicare was being debated in the 1960s, a similar division arose between those who wanted a full-scale universal program and those who, like Morneau today, merely wanted to fill in the gaps… eventually, the medicare universalists won. Both politically and logically their arguments simply made more sense.

  • Bill Morneau is wrong to rule out universal pharmacare

    There will be no pharmacare “plan,” he said on Wednesday, but instead a pharmacare “strategy” that “deals with the gaps,” is “fiscally responsible” and “doesn’t throw out the system that we currently have.” True to his government’s preference for targeted over universal programs, the finance minister seemed to be saying that supplements to the current dysfunctional mess will have to suffice.

  • Hoskins steps down as health minister to head national pharmacare strategy

    The federal government is eyeing a new, national pharmacare program and will name departing Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins to lead the effort. Hoskins, a doctor who was the key architect of the province’s OHIP+ providing free prescriptions for youth, announced Monday afternoon that he was stepping down as minister and MPP for St. Paul’s, effective immediately… “In politics in Canada, Eric Hoskins in particular has been the most ardent and most articulate champion of a universal pharmacare system”