• PET brain scans show many Alzheimer’s patients may not actually have the disease

    A significant portion of people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia who are taking medication for Alzheimer’s may not actually have the disease… The findings could change the way doctors treat people in these hard-to-diagnose groups and save money currently being spent on inappropriate medication… “we’re getting a 66 per cent change… of people who are on a drug and didn’t need to be on those drugs.”

  • Poor health-care ranking a sign our system needs fixing

    What may surprise many is that Canada ranks so poorly (nine of 11) in what are arguably the two most critical areas, health outcomes and equity… The problem is that Canada does not cover a broad enough range of services. Medicare covers 100 per cent of hospital and physician services, but too often fails to cover essential prescription drugs, home care, long-term care and dental care, which is the norm in most wealthy countries.

  • Covering drugs for young people isn’t the best way to fill gaps in health care

    In an international health survey, about 11 per cent of Ontarians said they may not fill a drug prescription due to cost, but roughly three times that many say they skip dental services for that reason. Further, far too many young people end up in emergency rooms for severe mental health issues; others walk around with improper prescription eyeglasses or rely heavily on family caregivers for home support.

  • Makers of OxyContin, Percocet sued by U.S. governments over opioid crisis

    Their suit is part of a wave of litigation against pharmaceutical companies by states, counties and local prosecutors besieged by the worst addiction crisis in American history… Opioid overdoses killed 33,000 people in the U.S. in 2015, about three times the number of gun homicides. The intensity of the crisis, and likely the fact that many of the victims are white middle-class suburbanites with political clout, has produced a bipartisan shift in perceptions of addiction.

  • Ontario’s Universal Drug Program Will Be The First Of Its Kind In Canada

    As Canadians, we pride ourselves on our Medicare system. It embodies our shared belief that everyone should have access to health care, no matter what their circumstances. And pharmacare is one of the most important steps we can take to rededicate ourselves to that principle. I remain optimistic that one day we will achieve our goal of a national pharmacare program for all Canadians… I’m proud that our government… is blazing a new path with OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare, the most significant expansion of Medicare in Canada since its creation 50 years ago.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Better pay for doctors won’t cure what ails the system

    … the idea that physician pay — not just the agreed fee, but the frequency of billings — should be uncontrolled, ungoverned, and unaccounted for by anyone other than doctors is unsustainable. And it is at the centre of the ongoing dispute between the government and the OMA, and within the OMA itself… A fee for service system that rewards patient volumes over patient vitals is dumb and dated. More than merely gatekeepers, doctors must be partners

  • Release full data on drug company payments to doctors

    Full disclosure will make physicians more cautious about accepting payments that may influence how they treat their patients, and researchers can actually measure the effects of those fees on doctors’ prescribing habits… pharmaceutical companies have made it clear to the government they will not voluntarily report how much they pay individual doctors. Now the government must step in as quickly as possible and force the issue.

  • 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.”