Medicine

Canadians Should Not Shoulder Prescription Drug Costs

Steve Morgan | Posted 05.22.2015 | Canada Politics
Steve Morgan

Cities have to spend this money, taken from local taxpayers, because Canada's medicare system is the only universal, public health care system among developed countries that does not include universal coverage of prescription drugs. It is not wrong for cities to care for their employees. But leaving these costs to the cities makes about as much sense as requiring every homeowner to maintain the roads and infrastructure surrounding their property. Here's why.

How to Reduce Wait Times in Canadian Health Care

Robert McMurtry | Posted 05.16.2015 | Canada Politics
Robert  McMurtry

Wait times have long been a source of concern for Canadians, and in some jurisdictions, remain a significant problem. Recently the Canadian Institutes of Health Information (CIHI) released their report for 2015. There is both encouraging news and areas in need of attention.

It Is Possible to Counteract (Some) Drug Allergies

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre | Posted 05.13.2015 | Canada Living
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Desensitization, which involves gradual reintroduction of a drug, starting with very small doses, makes it possible for some people to take a medication that would normally trigger an allergic reaction. The procedure, of course, must be done under direct supervision of a health-care professional in case you develop a severe reaction.

Criminalizing Abortion Will Only Make It Unsafe

Isabelle Côté | Posted 05.13.2015 | Canada Living
Isabelle Côté

Let's remind ourselves that inaccessible abortion services do not eliminate abortions. The choice, or even necessity to terminate a pregnancy is a reality. Criminalizing abortion can lead to unsafe and potentially life-threatening options for many women in disadvantaged situations.

Why This U.S. Doctor Is Moving to Canada

Emily S. Queenan | Posted 05.05.2015 | Canada Business
Emily S. Queenan

I had a vision of cultivating a practice where patients felt heard and cared for, and where I could provide full-spectrum family medicine care, including obstetrical care. My practice embraced the principles of patient-centered collaborative care. It employed the latest in 21st-century technology. I loved my work and my patients. But after five years of constant fighting with multiple private insurance companies in order to get paid, I ultimately made the heart-wrenching decision to close my practice down. The emotional stress was too great.

Learn to Be Savvy and Detect Bogus Health News

University of Toronto News | Posted 04.28.2015 | Canada Living
University of Toronto News

Today it seems that we're bombarded with news about some great new medical hope or fear of the moment, and I worry that we are all suffering from health-information overload. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps we can take when reading medical news that will help us to put it all in perspective.

How a B. C. Court Case May Threaten Canadian Healthcare

Colleen M. Flood | Posted 04.24.2015 | Canada Politics
Colleen M. Flood

A case emerged in response to an audit of Cambie Surgeries, a private for-profit corporation by the B.C. Medical Services Commission. The audit found from a sample of Cambie's billing that it (and another private clinic) had charged patients hundreds of thousands of dollars more for health services covered by medicare than is permitted by law. Dr. Day and Cambie Surgeries claim that the law preventing a doctor charging patients more is unconstitutional.

Universal Canadian Drug Coverage Is Good for Business

Steve Morgan | Posted 04.23.2015 | Canada Business
Steve Morgan

Businesses care about the health and well-being of the Canadian workforce. Employees that can afford the medicines as and when prescribed will be healthier, happier, and more productive. In this election year, it is time for Canada's business leaders to call for universal, public pharmacare.

There's No Good Reason Canada Shouldn't Have a National Drug Plan

Livio Di Matteo | Posted 04.14.2015 | Canada Politics
Livio Di Matteo

A 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. It seems the time is ripe to finally complete our universal system of public healthcare coverage by adding a national public drug plan. If anything, these cautions should serve as guideposts to make sure a new national drug plan is not only effective but also designed in a fiscally sustainable manner.

Yesteryear's Remedies May Be Tomorrow's Cures

Jason Tetro | Posted 04.06.2015 | Canada
Jason Tetro

Last week, much ado was made about a fascinating story coming out of the United Kingdom. A thousand year old remedy for a common eye problem -- styes -- was tested in the lab against the pathogen, Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The concoction was not only effective at killing the bacterium but also outperformed a common antibiotic, vancomycin.

Ambulance Fees Are Obstacles on the Road to Care

Dr Ryan Meili | Posted 04.01.2015 | Canada Politics
Dr Ryan Meili

Experiencing a medical emergency is an incredibly stressful experience for patients and their families. This stress should not be compounded by worries about getting an ambulance bill they can't afford. As physicians, we know the importance of the first few minutes of an emergency situation, and the crucial role of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in saving lives. And yet ambulance fees remain a significant barrier to people receiving necessary care across Canada.

It's Time to Put Healthcare on the Federal Election Agenda

Robert McMurtry | Posted 05.25.2015 | Canada Politics
Robert McMurtry

A federal election could be called any time in the next few months, judging by the media coverage and the ramping up of political activity. Many issues have been crowding into the media headlines in anticipation of the election -- but with a notable absence of any consideration of healthcare by our political parties. Apparently the subject is still on the minds of the electorate though, at least amongst my own circle of friends, colleagues and neighbours, many of whom note the leading edge of our baby-boomers have now turned 65.

The Unadvertised Health Risks of E-Cigarettes

Dr. Brett Belchetz | Posted 05.06.2015 | Canada Living
Dr. Brett Belchetz

So when no evidence exists to show that e-cigarettes are safe for long-term use by humans, when laboratory studies demonstrate worrisome potential physiological risks, and when strong evidence is mounting that e-cigarettes are leading our youth to consider smoking tobacco cigarettes, I would contend that caution here is the only reasonable approach.

It's Okay to Fail in Healthcare As Long As We Learn From Our Mistakes

Danielle Martin | Posted 05.05.2015 | Canada Living
Danielle Martin

In a public healthcare system, too often system failures end up as fodder for Question Period battles rather than impetus for learning. When investments have been made in new models of health service funding and delivery that don't work out, it can be difficult to proclaim failure as a means to move toward success.

Why I Don't Like The Term 'Mental Illness'

Roger Covin, Ph.D | Posted 04.21.2015 | Canada Living
Roger Covin, Ph.D

I have to admit something embarrassing. I am a registered psychologist working in private practice, and I don't know what the term mental illness means. Well, on a general level I know that it refers to psychological problems, but I don't know exactly what is meant by the "illness" part.

This Kind of Care Could Reduce Wait Times in Canadian Hospitals

Robert McMurtry | Posted 04.14.2015 | Canada Politics
Robert McMurtry

The continuum of patient-centred care could include a consistency of health care professionals familiar with a patient's case and who are buttressed by the flow of relevant patient history and investigations. Patient centredness by the professional care-giver would target care, communication and common ground or a shared understanding between those receiving the care and those providing it.

Why Do Canadian Employers Waste $5 billion a Year on Inefficient Drug Coverage?

Alan Cassels | Posted 04.08.2015 | Canada Politics
Alan Cassels

Employers want their drug plans to be as competitive as those offered by other employers. So what happens when the norm is to cover all new drugs at any cost, even if the drugs do not provide additional therapeutic value? Well, the end result is that everyone buys "generous" plans instead of increasing employee compensation. Everyone we spoke with agrees about the need to educate employees and employers alike. And in fact, everyone agrees (even insurers) that exorbitant drug costs are a big issue for Canadians.

As Vaccine Prices Soar, Big Pharma Profits

Stephen Cornish | Posted 04.06.2015 | Canada Impact
Stephen Cornish

Last week in Berlin more than 15 countries pledged over US$7.5 billion to buy vaccines for the children of the world's poorest countries for the next five years. While this is great news for the millions of children living in the 73 countries supported by Gavi, there were other big winners: the pharmaceutical companies that benefit from the soaring vaccine prices they charge for vaccines worldwide.

How Health Canada Failed to Uphold Its Own Pharmaceutical Ad Standards

Barbara Mintzes | Posted 03.28.2015 | Canada Politics
Barbara Mintzes

Although advertising of prescription medicines to the public is generally banned in Canada on public health grounds, shifts in administrative policy have allowed two types of ads since late 2000: "reminder" ads that mention a brand name, but make no health claims; and "help-seeking" ads that mention a condition, but do not state a brand or company name. We have identified six main weaknesses in how Health Canada regulates this advertising.

Should Doctors Charge a "No Show" Fee?

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre | Posted 03.08.2015 | Canada Living
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Many doctors who work in group practices are now paid a flat fee, per patient, per year. It essentially means the physician gets the same amount regardless of whether you have just one appointment or 10 appointments a year. So a doctor paid on that basis doesn't really lose money if a patient misses an appointment. However, protecting the doctor's income is not the sole motivation for imposing a "no-show" fee.

Ontario Doesn't Need An Income-Based Drug Benefit Program for Seniors

Steve Morgan | Posted 02.09.2015 | Canada Politics
Steve Morgan

Rather than placing a tax on health needs -- as income-based drug plans do -- Ontario should consider a more positive road to universal pharmacare. Specifically, it should consider tax financing a universal drug benefit program that would give non-seniors the same coverage elderly residents enjoy today.

Cynicism, Paranoia and Stress Can Dramatically Impact Your Health

Romeo Vitelli | Posted 02.07.2015 | Canada Living
Romeo Vitelli

When the researchers looked at how Type A behaviour was linked to cardiovascular disease however, the results were very different. Stress, neuroticism, cynicism, and paranoia were all significant predictors of cardiovascular disease although being ambitious and hard-driven were not.

An "Archaea" Solution To The Post-Antibiotic Era

Jason Tetro | Posted 01.30.2015 | Canada Living
Jason Tetro

2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpgFor those studying this unique branch of terrestrial life, the identification of resistance genes in the environment suggested there had to be antimicrobials out there. If this was the case, the Archaea were going to play a role. The only question they couldn't answer was the nature of this role. This past week, a team of researchers from Vanderbilt University may have provided the answer: Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT).

Why It's So Important to Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet

Victor Wong | Posted 01.16.2015 | Canada Living
Victor Wong

Research shows that more than half of all Canadian households do not regularly check the expiry dates of medications, and if they do, they only do it right before taking the product. Given it's now cold and flu season, it's the perfect time to clean out your medicine cabinet. To make sure your medicine cabinet is stocked and ready at all times, follow these simple steps.

A Doctor's Take on Alternative Medicine

University of Toronto News | Posted 12.29.2014 | Canada Living
University of Toronto News

Dr. Mel Borins wants to you to be healthy and he wants you equipped with more than just your family doctor's orders. A family physician and associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, Borins is a leading expert in health and wellness who has advocated evidence-based, alternative medicine for decades.