• Time for full transparency on pharmaceutical money

    Industry funds physician education and helps create free medical textbooks that favour corporate products. These subtle forms of pay-for-play fill out industry’s marketing strategy that includes free lunches for residents and the funding of patient advocacy groups that lobby governments for drug and device approval and funding… transparency helps disentangle fraud from responsible corporate citizenship.

  • Ontario court orders end to secrecy around names of highest-paid MDs

    Ontario’s Divisional Court has ordered an end to the secrecy surrounding the province’s highest-billing doctors… The court accepted that the names of the doctors, in conjunction with the amounts they receive in OHIP payments and their medical specialties, are not “personal information.” They are, therefore, not exempt from disclosure under the province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

  • Quebec expects to save millions with overhaul of generic-drug purchasing process

    In the new system, the government has capped rebates pharmacists can receive at 15 per cent. Drug purchases will now be centralized under one competitive bid for any generic drug that has at least three competitive manufacturers. Contracts will run up to three years. Brand-name drugs are not part of the new plan… Business analysts anticipate the province could save 25 per cent to 35 per cent on its $800-million generic-drug bill if the system was implemented and proved effective.

  • Open Pharma wants public to know ties between MDs and pharmaceutical industry

    … the Open Pharma campaign is not “anti-pharma,” nor does it aim to ban industry involvement with the medical profession. It’s about being open about relationships in the interest of upholding public confidence… “Canada at the moment seems like it’s a laggard in this regard… The world is moving in the direction of providing patients with context about interactions between the pharmaceutical industry and doctors.”

  • There’s room for competition in public health care

    … in Britain, any reforms which encourage competition and choice are viewed as covert attempts to privatize our revered NHS (National Health Service)… Reforms in England have sought to increase competition between hospitals for public funds. The bottom line is these have benefited patients – but introducing more choice and competition also means the rules of the game need to be carefully designed and monitored.

  • Medicare doesn’t have to be expensive. Just look at Israel

    … per-capita pharmaceutical spending in Israel is $287… well below that of Canada’s $761 and the OECD average of $527… several features of the Israeli approach… include the setting of an annual budget; the consideration of all proposed new medications simultaneously… the involvement of all key players in the prioritization process; using the prioritization process to secure concessions… – price and volume; and a growing level of transparency.

  • How to improve Indigenous health? Address jurisdictional disputes

    Despite having been involved in the funding and delivery of health services to First Nations and Inuit since 1945, the federal government has yet to clearly define its obligations to First Nations and Inuit in relation to the provision of health services… More than 80 per cent of First Nations and Inuit communities now manage their own community-based health services. Evidence shows that these communities have better health outcomes.

  • What’s at risk for Canada in the American health-care war?

    If strong provisions that exclude health care from free trade are not maintained, and in fact strengthened, in any renegotiated trade agreement, American insurance companies and health-care delivery organizations could claim the right to a Canadian private health-care “market.” … not far from here, health-care insurance is a good that is sold in the marketplace like softwood lumber.

  • Patchwork drug plans flout the foundations of medicare

    Ontario has seven (soon to be eight) distinct public drug plans… Despite the number of state-funded programs, almost half of Canadians rely on private insurance for coverage, most of which is employer-based… In Ontario alone, one in four people between the ages of 25 and 64 do not have drug insurance, according to Health Quality Ontario.

  • One-handed applause for youth pharmacare plan

    … once a popular pharmacare scheme is in place, it will be politically difficult for any government to kill it. Fiscally, the Liberal drug plan has the advantage of being cheap — largely because younger people tend to be in good health. Officials say it will cost roughly $465 million a year, a relatively small amount for a government that spends more than $140 billion annually.