• First of five ‘barrier-free’ Toronto addiction clinics opens at Women’s College

    Patients with alcohol, opioid or other addictions don’t require a booked appointment or a referral from a doctor to get help at the rapid-access clinics, which are being credited with saving money and lives… “the opiate crisis we’re seeing now has reached epidemic proportions.” The rapid-access clinic model “offers us a realistic and effective response to this crisis,”

  • Canada must (and can) take control of drug prices

    … $13.7-billion in patented medicines were sold in this country in 2014; if Canadians had paid the OECD average instead of our own inflated prices, the bill would have been $3.6-billion less… Prices for identical drugs vary between provinces, for no good reason; brand-name drugs are too often prescribed when similarly effective and much cheaper generics would do the job; and generic prices in Canada are also among the highest in the world.

  • 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.

  • Now, more than ever, we need a national vaccination plan

    our system for vaccinating kids is shamefully clunky and disorganized. we don’t even have an accurate count of who is vaccinated and who isn’t. That’s because every province tracks vaccination differently, if at all… who does vaccinations – nurses, family doctors, pediatricians – varies between jurisdictions and… few provinces have any standardized methods of encouraging parents to get kids vaccinated, follow-up procedures for those who miss their shots or stringent rules about who can opt out.

  • 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.

  • Drug plan shows Ontario Liberals still have a few tricks left

    The so-called “OHIP+” plan will make prescriptions free for children and young people – anyone who’s 24 or younger – beginning next Jan. 1… It’s a push towards universal pharmacare, the most glaring gap in Canada’s medicare system… a national plan would be cheaper and more efficient than province-by-province solutions. But if Ottawa won’t take the lead, it’s good to see Ontario stepping up.

  • A pre-pre-election budget to bolster Liberal fortunes

    Free pharmaceuticals for young people (a blessing). Transit breaks for old people (a sop). Cheaper child care for young parents (long overdue). Free tuition for most college students (already announced but still worthy and worth repeating). Rent control for everyone (a reprise). Hefty discounts off everyone’s hydro bills (a perennial). And the first balanced budget after a decade of deficits (about time). Which clears the way for its more progressive measures, notably phased pharmacare.

  • … Top 23 takeaways from the Ontario budget

    Ontario will become the first province to offer pharmacare to all young people, regardless of income, who are 24 and under. Some 4,400 prescription drugs will be covered… the abortion pill will provide an alternative to women seeing to end a pregnancy up to seven weeks… The province will spend $20 million to increase respite care for dementia patients and increase the number of seniors’ centres… From elementary schools to jails to seniors centres, the province is improving mental health services in many of its service areas…

  • Canada can learn from U.S. attack on high drug prices

    … the U.S. and Canada have a fragmented patch work of public and private drug plans. Where you work, where you live, or your age, ultimately dictate whether you are eligible for drug coverage and determine the generosity of your benefits… in Canada, the lack of a national drug plan leaves at least $4 billion in savings on the table every year, according to the latest research in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

  • Ontario NDP has a political winner in universal pharmacare plan

    According to the Ministry of Health, in 2015, 2.2 million Ontarians had no drug coverage; patients spent $2.5 billion out of pocket on prescriptions. In a 2015 Angus Reid poll, 25 per cent of Ontarians reported not filling a prescription, skipping doses or splitting pills because of the cost. And this is unique among countries with universal health care…