Why antibiotic resistance can be deadly

Antibiotic resistance is now a major global public health problem with serious societal costs

Why antibiotic resistance can be deadlyI am privileged to help patients deal with a variety of common disorders such as ear infections, pharyngitis and sinus inflammation. People suffer a great deal from these problems, especially when they are in the acute phase. I offer pain medication, ear or nasal rinses, gargles or decongestants, all of which work reasonably well. The…

Think twice before institutionalizing national pharmacare

Any national pharmacare program would need an absolute firewall to protect it from the inevitable politics of drug coverage

Think twice before institutionalizing national pharmacareAmalgamation always seems like a good idea. After all, we do it with municipalities in order, we believe, to prevent duplication and save money. I don’t know much about municipal amalgamation, but joining forces for the same reasons has been suggested with something I do know about – pharmacare programs. Canada has at least 16…

Quebec’s prescription drug plan no cure-all for rest of Canada

It won’t work for Canada because it no longer works for Quebec

Quebec’s prescription drug plan no cure-all for rest of CanadaEight provincial health ministers recently organized a roundtable with healthcare professionals and academic experts to discuss how we should transform drug coverage in Canada, with several of them eventually calling for a national pharmacare program. But the question is, what kind? Some of the suggested reforms were based on international best practices, which overwhelmingly emphasize…

Canada’s $500-million drug problem

Piecemeal drug insurance coverage costs cities – and taxpayers - plenty

Canada’s $500-million drug problemCanada's cities face a number of problems, including traffic congestion, housing costs, crime rates and shabby infrastructure. Now prescription drugs can be added to the list; it is a problem that is costing local governments as much as $500 million every year. Recognizing that access to necessary medicines is critical for health and wellbeing, many…

No need for national drug plan in Canada

Focus should be on supporting individuals slipping through the cracks, not subsidizing those who don’t need it

No need for national drug plan in CanadaCalls for a national drug insurance program, commonly referred to as Pharmacare, can regularly be found in Canada’s media. While access to prescription drugs is an important component of any well-functioning healthcare system, there’s little evidence that an expanded government-run single-payer program is either necessary or ideal. When it comes to concerns about access to…

Pharmacare is good for business

Businesses need help managing the complexity and high cost of drug benefits

Pharmacare is good for businessBy Steve Morgan University of British Columbia and Danielle Martin Women’s College Hospital The lack of public coverage of prescription drugs is bad for Canadian businesses, large and small. Here’s why: With the growing use and cost of prescription drugs, managing drug benefits has become much more complex and difficult for businesses to sustain. Regrettably,…

National drug plan would reduce public, private spending

Any perceived barriers appear to be unjustified

National drug plan would reduce public, private spendingA new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal with health economist Steve Morgan as lead author argues a national universal care drug program would not result in substantial tax increases. Indeed, such a plan reduces public and private spending on prescription drugs by $7.3 billion annually – or by 32 per cent. According to…

Four ways to make pharmacare work for Canadians

Canada only developed country with a universal healthcare system that does not include universal coverage of prescription drugs

Four ways to make pharmacare work for CanadiansA growing number of health professionals, patients, community groups and even politicians are calling for national pharmacare. But many Canadians likely wonder what pharmacare is and whether Canada is ready for it. Let’s start at the beginning. Affordable access to safe and properly prescribed prescription medicines is so critical to patient health that the World…

Canadian employers waste $5B a year on inefficient drug coverage

Money would be better spent on increasing salaries and improving other benefits such as dental care

Canadian employers waste $5B a year on inefficient drug coverageThere is certainly a lot of waste in health systems, but one area that seems to have escaped close scrutiny is the waste in private drug plans in Canada. Estimated at over $5 billion a year, this waste represents over half of the annual prescription drug bill paid by private insurers in Canada and is…

Health Canada breaks its own rules on pharmaceutical advertising

New study shows repeated infractions for wide range of drugs over a decade

Health Canada breaks its own rules on pharmaceutical advertisingBy Barbara Mintzes University of British Columbia and Joel Lexchin York University A handsome man struts over to the office water cooler with a smirk on his face. When his colleagues ask about his weekend, he replies enthusiastically, with audio muted. A large blue pill appears with the tagline, “Viagra, Ask Your Doctor.” Vibrant, energetic…
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