Pharmaceutical Industry

Canada Needs A National Strategy To Tackle The Rise Of 'Superbugs'

Bryan Thomas | Posted 03.29.2016 | Canada Politics
Bryan Thomas

In the arms race between germs and medicine, the global community has two complementary strategies at its disposal: First, we can develop new antimicrobials, and secondly, we can slow the emergence of resistant strains through judicious use of current antimicrobials.

It's Time For Big Pharma To Open Up About Drug Safety And Effectiveness

Matthew Herder | Posted 02.17.2016 | Canada Politics
Matthew Herder

If Canada is to implement national pharmacare, surely we want to know more about the drugs we'll be paying for. To this end, we must tackle a pre-existing challenge: we must open up the evidence our drug regulator houses concerning drug safety and effectiveness. For decades Health Canada has kept that information confidential at the behest of drug manufacturers. This practice limits the ongoing evaluation of a drug's safety and effectiveness and, in turn, provincial and territorial governments' decision-making about which drugs to pay for, not to mention physicians and patients who make decisions about which drugs to prescribe and take.

Prescription Opioids Are Behind Canada's Greatest Health Crisis

David Juurlink | Posted 12.02.2015 | Canada Living
David Juurlink

Today, doctors' offices are inundated with people who have been harmed more than helped by these drugs. Thousands more are dead. And yet the marketing continues, with pain specialists and advocacy groups opposing moves to curtail opioid prescription, their efforts financed by the very companies that make these drugs.

We Need Trudeau To Prioritize Pharmaceutical Drug Coverage

Steve Morgan | Posted 11.20.2015 | Canada Politics
Steve Morgan

Unlike any comparable country, Canada's universal public health care system effectively ends as soon as a patient is handed a prescription to fill. Millions of Canadians have no drug coverage at all and millions more have coverage that is inadequate to ensure access to medicines.

Dear Health Minister, We Need Federal Leadership In Medicare Restored

Colleen M. Flood | Posted 11.18.2015 | Canada Politics
Colleen M. Flood

You will know well from history that real change won't happen by providing more federal money with unconditional transfers.Real change will require helping provinces to shift the focus of our health system away from those who are relatively well resourced to new areas of care, such as essential pharmaceuticals and homecare.

What Trudeau Can Do To Make Medicines Accessible To All Canadians

Steve Morgan | Posted 11.05.2015 | Canada Politics
Steve Morgan

Financial barriers to filling necessary prescriptions result in worse health for patients. They also result in increased use of taxpayer-finance hospital and medical care. In other words, they don't save anybody money in the long run.

Why We Need to Cover Medication for Children

Avram Denburg | Posted 10.17.2015 | Canada Politics
Avram Denburg

The glaring gaps in drug coverage for Canadian children are made stranger by the economic dimensions of the issue. Children's health care represents a drop in the ocean of health care budgets -- extending universal drug coverage to children would constitute a small fraction of total pharmaceutical spending.

Now Is the Time for Canada to Catch Up on Drug Safety for Children

Terry P. Klassen | Posted 09.15.2015 | Canada Politics
Terry P. Klassen

What the report, Improving Medicines for Children in Canada confirmed was what pediatricians in the field already know -- that much of the medications given to children in Canada have never been adequately studied or even formally approved for the conditions they are commonly prescribed to treat.

Canada Takes Long to Approve New Drugs - and That's Good

Alan Cassels | Posted 07.23.2015 | Canada Politics
Alan Cassels

Provinces are clearly voting with their budgets, going slow and low on approvals and coverage of new therapies. Canada is not wrong to be prudent in taking our time to decide how, or if, a new drug needs to be covered -- a precautionary approach is just the smart way to go.

Quebec-Style Pharmacare Program Won't Work for the Rest of Canada

Marc-Andre Gagnon | Posted 07.01.2015 | Canada Business
Marc-Andre Gagnon

Eight provincial health ministers organized a roundtable with healthcare professionals and academic experts on June 8 to discuss how we should transform drug coverage in Canada and several are now calling for a national pharmacare program. The question now is, what kind?

Canadians Should Not Shoulder Prescription Drug Costs

Steve Morgan | Posted 05.22.2016 | 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.

Universal Canadian Drug Coverage Is Good for Business

Steve Morgan | Posted 06.23.2015 | 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 06.14.2015 | 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.

Canada Needs More Transparency in Pharmaceutical Regulation

Kelvin K. Ogilvie | Posted 05.16.2015 | Canada Politics
Kelvin K. Ogilvie

The federal government plays a vital role in pharmaceutical drug regulation. We have many reasons to be proud of the systems for drug safety already in place in Canada. Yet there's room for significant improvement. Canadians deserve safe, effective, accessible and reliable pharmaceutical drugs when they need them. The only way to do this is through perpetually improved systems framed by transparency and openness.

Four Things Needed to Make Pharmacare Work for Canadians

Steve Morgan | Posted 04.27.2015 | Canada Politics
Steve Morgan

A 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.

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.

New Brunswick's Opportunity to Reduce Pharmaceutical Drug Prices

Steve Morgan | Posted 02.18.2015 | Canada Politics
Steve Morgan

The Liberal government of New Brunswick appears to be stepping back from the brink of mandatory prescription drug insurance. And so they should. The drug plan chosen by the Conservatives was designed on a false premise: that the private sector can better manage things than government can. In many sectors, that might be true. But not in health care.

Canada Needs a National Standard for Drug Coverage, Not a Patchwork System

Danielle Martin | Posted 12.01.2014 | Canada Politics
Danielle Martin

Better pharmacare for all Canadians will be difficult to achieve without the federal government at the table. The government of Canada could lead on this issue in a way that no single province or territory can do, by supporting the development of a single national list of drugs to be covered for all Canadians and by harnessing the purchasing power of the whole nation to get the best possible bang for our buck.

Without Big Pharma, Many Useful Drugs Wouldn't Exist

Yanick Labrie | Posted 11.05.2014 | Canada Business
Yanick Labrie

Although some people like to paint the pharmaceutical industry as a villain, a substantial proportion of very useful drugs would simply not have seen the light of day if not for its contribution.

Canada's Big Pharma Should Do What It Does Best

Joseph Soares | Posted 10.07.2014 | Canada Business
Joseph Soares

Back in 2012, things looked grim for Canada's Big Pharma industry. A significant number of the industry's high-earning products were about to lose their patent protection, and face replacement by low-margin generics. But Canada's pharma industry, the eighth largest in the world, maintained its levels of innovation as well as formulating an innovative and successful business strategy.

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Yanick Labrie | Posted 09.03.2014 | Canada Impact
Yanick Labrie

At an important conference in Chicago last June, over 25,000 doctors and researchers from around the world gathered to hear about several new breakthroughs in targeted therapies that will soon play a leading role in the fight against cancer.

Canada's Drugs Need To Be Safer For Children

Martin Offringa | Posted 07.20.2014 | Canada Living
Martin Offringa

How do you strike a balance when treating children with drugs in the absence of such evidence? Most people might be surprised to learn that much of the medications given to children in Canada have never been adequately studied or even formally approved for the conditions they are commonly prescribed to treat.

This Secret Trade Deal Contains Threats to Public Health

Stephen Cornish | Posted 05.21.2014 | Canada Business
Stephen Cornish

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement is being negotiated in secret, but leaked documents from the negotiations have revealed that the United States is pushing hard for strict intellectual property rules that would protect the profits of pharmaceutical companies at the expense of patients. These rules would extend patent monopolies and delay the introduction of cheaper generic drugs, allowing the big brand-name drug companies to maintain their high prices for longer periods of time. This would put lifesaving medicines out of reach for millions of poor people around the world. It could also lead to higher drug prices here at home.