• 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.

  • Sunshine act to reveal payments to health-care professionals is welcome

    The legislation has been left purposefully vague on some points so they can be worked out through consultations and then carried out through regulations that are still to be written. On the face of it, that’s fine. But Hoskins should make sure the intent of the legislation — to shed light on possible conflicts of interest — does not get watered down in the process.

  • Big Pharma marketing scheme banned by Ontario

    The electronic vouchers steer patients to brand name drugs over their less expensive generic equivalents, and have raised concerns that patients’ health records are being used to sell pricier drugs that can pile unnecessary costs onto private insurance plans. The voucher feature, found in medical record software owned by Telus Health and other companies, will be disabled over the coming weeks, said Hoskins.

  • Ontario to sell cannabis at government-run stores, online

    Despite calls from many premiers for more guidance on the file, the federal government has committed to legalizing the recreational use of the drug by July 1. But, to date, Ottawa has indicated that it will leave the contentious issues of regulating the wholesale distribution and retailing of cannabis up to the provinces and territories.

  • Unions want pharmacare plan for all Canadians

    We need a pharmacare plan that covers all Canadians. Just think about what that would mean for the one in five people paying out of pocket for their medication today, either because they don’t have a prescription drug plan, or because they have a plan that doesn’t cover the full cost of the medications they need… An estimated 8.4 million working Canadians don’t have prescription drug coverage… We have the second highest prescription drug costs in the world

  • How Canada got addicted to fentanyl

    The supply chain for illicit fentanyl begins in China, but the problems Canada is experiencing start right here at home: No other country in the world consumes more prescription opioids on a per-capita basis, according to a recent United Nations report. The widespread use of prescription opioids is behind the rise of a new class of drug addicts, many of whom are turning to the black market to feed their habit… many of those deaths could have been avoided.

  • Canada suffers from unimaginative government. Here are some radical ideas

    There is no serious discussion of health-care reform, though Canada is one of the few countries in the world that claims to ban private medicine. We are in fact rationing medical care for many victims of chronic health problems, and have failed to advance any policy option except throwing more tax-paid funds at the question… There has been no attempt to make welfare and poverty-reduction more effective…