• Why Trudeau may take a pass on universal pharmacare, despite his party’s wishes

    Canada spends more on prescription drugs, through a chaotic mix of public, private and individual payers, than nearly every other country on earth: $34 billion annually, or roughly $1,000 per capita — a third higher than the OECD average, and twice what countries like Denmark and the Netherlands pay. Yet an estimated 10 per cent of our people have no drug insurance — two to three times the rate in comparable countries — while another 10 per cent are classed as under-insured…

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • NDP promises $12-a-day child care and lower deficits if elected

    The New Democrats’ fiscal plan, signed off on as “reasonable” by former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page, is bolstered by higher taxes. An NDP government would raise the corporate tax rate to 13 per cent from 11.5 per cent, close big business loopholes, and increase personal income tax on amounts earned more than $220,000 by one percentage point and on earnings more than $300,000 by two percentage points.

  • 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.

  • Fix information gaps in health-care system

    one-in-five Canadians with chronic conditions have experienced medication errors or duplications. Medication errors put patients unnecessarily in harm’s way, but they are preventable. With proper care co-ordination and shared electronic health records, health-care providers can make informed decisions and reduce the chance of medication errors… every misdiagnosis, redundant procedure and unnecessary question adds to wait times and subtracts from budgets.

  • A plan to overhaul Canadian health care systems

    … core elements: A strong national drug agency to provide the necessary machinery to support universal pharmacare… a strong data and technology agency that will help collect and link information, feeding it back to patients and the people who deliver care to them so health care can learn and improve… [and] a “signature” agency, one that will embody the value the government wishes to pursue most aggressively – be it efficiency, innovation, engagement or equity.