• Ontario should stop stalling on making payments to doctors public

    … it is so alarming that months after taking office the Ford government has yet to enact regulations that would bring into force the Health Sector Transparency Act passed by the previous Liberal government. It should quit stalling. The legislation would compel drug companies and those that manufacture medical devices to publicly report cash payments, free dinners, trips and other benefits they dole out to doctors, dentists and pharmacists.

  • How do we balance rights in cases of medically assisted dying?

    Catholic health-care facilities must recognize the vulnerabilities and full health-care needs of its diverse patient population. That means providing complete, compassionate and dignified end-of-life care, including MAID, especially when dealing with patients grappling with intolerable circumstances and imminent mortality.

  • Minimum wage of $14 per hour bad for public health

    Poverty is one of the best predictors of health. People making minimum wage earn less than $20,000 for a 40-hour week, and hover near the poverty line. They will live up to five fewer years than people who have higher wages, they will use more health and social services and their children will do less well at school and be at increased risk of illness themselves… Poverty and low wages decrease your life expectancy and increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, respiratory diseases, diabetes, accidents, and mental health and addiction problems

  • Pharmacare is not a top health-care priority for Canadians, poll finds

    The Pollara survey was funded by the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada, a group that represents 6,500 pharmacies across the country… A study published this year in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that almost 1 million Canadians cut back on food and heat spending to afford their medication, while nearly 2 million people have reported not being able to afford at least one of their prescribed drugs in the past year.

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • Debunking the myths about a Canadian pharmacare program

    The federal government’s Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare is consulting with Canadians this summer on a program that would see prescription drugs covered through expanded publicly funded systems… Myth 1 – Pharmacare will reduce choice of drugs to the detriment of patients… Myth 2 – Canadian drug prices are not excessive; we already get a reasonable deal on pharmaceuticals… Myth 3 – Pharmacare will result in less pharmaceutical industry investment (particularly in research and development) in Canada.

  • National pharmacare ‘blueprint’ will be unveiled next spring

    … the provinces do want to know “who is going to pay for the transformation, and how is the pie going to be divided after that?” … “It’s very important to provinces and territories that the federal commitment is there, it’s substantial, and that provinces and territories have confidence in that cost-sharing and that federal contribution, and that federal contribution will be there today and also into the future.”

  • Pharmacare and Politics

    Provincial drug plans today pay less than half of the total cost of prescription drugs; the rest is paid by private insurance plans or out of patients’ pockets. A set of single-payer “first-dollar” drug plans would likely more than double provincial and territorial government spending on drugs. Unless there are accompanying large increases in federal transfers, those governments are unlikely to agree to this approach. Increased federal transfers, however, would ultimately require higher federal taxes, making federal politicians less enthusiastic about this option.

  • After legalizing pot, is decriminalizing other drugs the logical next step?

    … Public-health officials have long recognized a reality that elected politicians are only belatedly appreciating: Drug use and dependency are best addressed with the tools of health policy, not those of criminal justice… decriminalization… upholds worthwhile social norms – that making, smuggling and trafficking illegal drugs is wrong – while acknowledging that those in the grip of dependency are ill.