• Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis. Now St. Michael’s Hospital is launching a $30M centre to fight MS

    “The intent is to build the best clinical facility for MS in the world… And the way you do that is you make sure it’s a facility that offers the best in education and research as well.” … The facility will be known as the Barlo MS Centre — after John and Jocelyn Barford and Jon and Nancy Love, who donated $10 million per family to the project… “It’s the most frequent cause of disability in young adults in a number of western countries,”

  • Health-care spending projected to jump nearly 4% this year, report finds

    The CIHI report states that… aging is only a “modest driver” of increasing health-care costs, estimated at nearly 1 per cent annually… among the three largest spending categories – hospitals, drugs and physicians, which together account for more than 60 per cent of the overall expenditure – pharmaceutical costs continue to increase at the fastest pace. This has been true since 2015, due partly to the increased use of high-cost patented drugs.

  • It’s time for a data-driven approach to health care

    … the Big Three – hospitals, physicians and drugs – gobble up more than 60 per cent of total spending, and they have since we started compiling national health data in Canada in 1975. That is a sharp reminder that, despite all the talk about the importance of community care and the need for care to be delivered by multidisciplinary teams, we have a hospital-centric, physician-driven health system.

  • Bernie Sanders lauds Canadian health-care system in Toronto speech

    “if you want to expand and protect health care or education, there are people out there in every country in the world who think it is more important to give tax breaks to the richest people … what we need to do is take those oligarchs on.” … What went mostly unsaid during Mr. Sanders’s speech is that while Canada’s health-care system can look great compared with that of the United States, it can still fare poorly next to comparable countries.

  • To solve the opioid crisis, stick to harm reduction

    Stiff trafficking penalties already exist and clearly aren’t working – an outcome supported by research. One summary of the findings by experts at the University of Toronto in 2014 concluded that “crime is not deterred, generally, by harsher sentences.” In contrast, harm-reduction strategies such as legalization, opiate substitution (or prescription) and supervised injection have proven their effectiveness

  • It’s time for a smarter approach to drugs

    The harm-reduction approach cannot fully succeed until we stop treating people addicted to drugs as criminals… The war on drugs has driven up the cost of policing, contributed to a national crisis of court delays, compounded racial and class inequities and unnecessarily criminalized people living with physical and mental illness. All that, without delivering any of the promised benefits for public health or public safety.

  • Price tag on national pharmacare will dissuade Ottawa

    A national pharmacare program could save $4.2-billion a year, according to a new report by the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer… But the 93-page report is math-heavy and politics-light… No government in its right mind is going to take on $20-billion a year in additional costs – especially when it involves the federal government absorbing $13-billion in provincial expenses… If Canada is, like most other Western countries, going to embrace pharmacare, it’s going to have to be a national program, not a federal one.

  • The War on Drugs has been lost. It’s time to try something else

    Portugal has not taken the logical next step of shouldering out the dealers and taking over controlled distribution of drugs itself. This is the path that Canada and the American states of Colorado and Oregon have embarked upon with marijuana… As it prepares the rules for marijuana sales and use, the federal government should examine the Portuguese model, as well as the disastrous drug war in the U.S.

  • Universal drug plan could cut more than $4-billion a year: PBO

    The savings would come largely from the impact of bulk purchases of drugs, allowing Health Canada to negotiate better prices for most pharmaceuticals, as well as an increase in the use of generic drugs. However, the plan – which would replace all provincial and private drug plans – would still carry a price tag of more than $19-billion, and the federal government isn’t exactly jumping up and down with excitement to do it.

  • How to Win a War on Drugs

    … let’s be clear on what Portugal did and didn’t do. First, it didn’t change laws on drug trafficking: Dealers still go to prison. And it didn’t quite legalize drug use, but rather made the purchase or possession of small quantities (up to a 10-day supply) not a crime but an administrative offense, like a traffic ticket. Offenders are summoned to a “Dissuasion Commission” hearing — an informal meeting at a conference table with social workers who try to prevent a casual user from becoming addicted.