• The truth behind wait times and private health care

    We have emergent issues to address in our health care system, but most come from its two-tiered part, not its universal part. Thirty per cent of our system is private… Our health outcomes are impaired by the lack of non-physician public health care: lack of dental care that drives people to the ED for tooth pain, lack of physiotherapy that results in a reliance on opiates for back pain rather than desperately needed manual therapy, and a lack of pharmacare that ends in 1-in-10 Canadians being unable to fill their prescriptions.

  • Ontarians did not sign up for deep cuts in services

    … According to that report [by financial consultants EY Canada and released last week] Ontario could “reconsider application of universality to all programs,” opting instead for “means-testing to selected programs.” … It provides no specifics. But just about the only two services the province provides to Ontarians without a fee, regardless of their income, are health care and public education.

  • Study shows how national pharmacare plan could work

    The authors are scathingly critical of those… who would use pharmacare to merely “fill in the gaps” left by existing private and public plans. Such an approach, they write, is merely a euphemism for off-loading the drug costs of expensive, high-risk patients onto the public system while leaving private insurers free to focus on those who are relatively healthy and thus more profitable… to be at all useful, a national pharmacare system must be universal…

  • Decriminalization is one powerful force to ease the overdose crisis

    When possession of drugs is a crime, it creates giant barriers to harm reduction and treatment. First and foremost, it means drugs will be supplied by criminals, and the supply will be unregulated, potentially unsafe and over-priced. This, in turn, means more overdoses, more deaths and more hospitalizations.

  • Canada must seize the moment to get pharmacare right

    … the new provincial government has announced the cancellation of OHIP+, which provided prescription drug coverage for seniors and people under 25. This announcement turns back efforts to provide greater access to prescription drugs for Ontarians. Without a national pharmacare program, Ontarians will see greater costs and fewer benefits… Failure to take medication as prescribed can greatly reduce health outcomes and put lives at risk. It also adds strain and cost to a health-care system that is already overburdened.

  • Safe injection sites are an ethical imperative, not a political option

    This week, Toronto Police reported seven fatal overdoses in 12 days, all in the same area of the city where one of the sites was set to open… The health minister cited a need to review “the merit” of overdose prevention sites despite experts in the field warning that a pause in services could mean “we’ll have a lot more dead people.” … Safe injection and opioid overdose prevention sites are a matter of life or death, an ethical imperative and not a political “option.”

  • Ford’s government starts its misguided moves against safe injection sites

    Last year, nearly 4,000 Canadians died from opioid overdoses. And 1,100 of those deaths were in Ontario and over 300 of them in Toronto… Ford’s government hasn’t just stopped three urgently-needed facilities from opening, it seems all but ready to close existing sites and throw the province’s entire harm-reduction strategy out the window… Ford announced during the election campaign that he was “dead set” against the sites…

  • Take profit motive out of drug research

    “for pharmaceutical companies, there is little profit incentive to invest in drugs that quickly cure patients; medicine for chronic conditions presents a more tempting return on investment… ”Since the rise of neoliberalism, governments have increasingly stepped away from research in favour of letting profit-oriented private companies take the lead. The result has been a huge increase in lifestyle drugs, while life-saving drugs are often just a byproduct… Our governments need to reclaim their lead role in research and development so that they follow society’s needs instead of profits.

  • Should we make drug use illegal, or make it safer?

    The war on drugs has always been about trade and politics, trying to control and contain a lucrative market, and an excuse for political interference. We need to stop treating drug users like commodities to be controlled and contained, and start treating them like people who need to be supported and informed.

  • Supervised drug-use sites work well, and Ontario should keep them going

    Research has shown that the sites reduce overdose deaths, the length of drug users’ hospital stays and HIV infection rates. As if that wasn’t enough, the clinics also save public money by improving the health of intravenous-drug users… We hope this review is a face-saving measure by a government looking for an excuse to keep the clinics open despite its leader’s grandstanding on the issue.