Canadian regulations clearly restrict access to new medical innovations by placing a general ban on their use until Health Canada completes duplicate reviews already undertaken (earlier and faster) by regulators in Europe and the U.S. Regulators in these jurisdictions bear responsibility for the health and safety of populations that dwarf Canada's population of less than 35 million. Canada's current approach imposes considerable delays on Canadians struggling with illness. A closer look suggests the delays did much more than cause needless discomfort.
Last week's controversy over Health Canada's funding of a program to give heroin to select addicts is like déjà vu. It's an awful lot like the conflicts the federal government has had with similar drug programs over the years. The Insite supervised injection clinic in Vancouver's renowned Downtown Eastside is the most famous example, where addicts can go to inject heroin under the supervision of nurses. Centres likes these are sometimes called "safe injection" sites, which is truly an oxymoron considering that these harmful drugs are anything but safe.
The debate over the licensing of dubious products by Health Canada heated up over the weekend this week with an article suggesting that Health Canada's continued approval of bogus homeopathic "nosodes" may be adding to the increased incidence of measles in Canada. The details behind these claims are not only true, but way more shocking than we could have expected.
A conference was held a few weeks ago in Ottawa to discuss yet again the adoption of a pan-Canadian government-run drug insurance plan that would cover prescription drug costs for the entire population. Such a program would instead risk increasing the burden currently weighing down public finances. Such a plan would not only entail extra costs for taxpayers, but would do nothing to change governments' current propensity to restrict and delay access to new drugs. Foreign experience can teach us much about the dangers of adopting a monopolistic drug insurance system in Canada.
While the technology is new and undoubtedly useful, there is still an inherent risk in putting your health in the hands of a software developer, no matter how much research and information has gone into the making of the product. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to incorporate a fitness app safely into your life.
New medicines are a central component of modern medical care. Unfortunately for Canadians, our federal government takes an approach that is slower than others, unnecessarily costly for taxpayers, and is ultimately of questionable benefit to Canadians. Canadian approvals for market access to new drugs take longer than similar approvals in both Europe (under the European Medicines Agency) and the U.S. (under the FDA). Specifically, the median approval time was longer in Canada than in the other jurisdictions in four of the past five years. But would faster approval of new drugs expose us to greater risk? Perhaps.
The gap between rich and poor in Canada is growing. What is indisputable to those of us working in the health care sector is its effect on health of Canadians. Health is a concern common to all, regardless of political affiliation, and does not exist in isolation from this growing problem. Evidence continues to mount that rising income inequality is contributing to the deterioration of the health of all people in Canada, regardless of their income level. As a family doctor who sees the impacts of public policies on the front lines, I find myself nodding in agreement to calls to action. The time for leadership on this issue has come.
The link between health and income is solid and consistent -- almost every major health condition has worse outcomes among people who live at lower income. I will continue to advise my patients to exercise more and eat healthier food, but this tax season I will also spend time prescribing tax returns.
If a company is selling an herb-based drug that they claim cures your cancer, then this is considered a high-risk claim and they must submit high-order evidence. If they do not want to go through this hassle all they have to do to get the drug approved is make a very general health claim; "supports immune-system health" for example.
While the safety and efficacy of vaccines for childhood infectious diseases is very well established, doubt continues to be sown among well-meaning parents. We need to demand that our government stop speaking out of one side of its mouth about the importance of the modern, science-based immunization schedule, while with the other side approving the sale of useless homeopathic hokum to be promoted as an ineffective alternative. If we do not, we risk a return of deadly childhood diseases like the 100-day cough of pertussis or the deadly, paralytic polio.
I was nursing my then eight-month-old who -- until that point -- was an ardent breastfeeder and had been gobbling up baby mush for two months with gusto. Then he started biting me. I turned to Google. I don't recall how many pages upon pages I looked at before stumbling across baby-led weaning. BLW in a nutshell: Baby starts eating once she can sit up unsupported and pick up her own food and put it into her mouth unassisted.
A series of investigative articles in the Toronto Star this week bring forward concerns about serious side effects to ADHD medications, in my opinion, the article sensationalizes the risks, and provide no balance by pointing out the hundreds of thousands of kids, teens and adults who have been helped by these medications.