Canada needs a national drug surveillance system

Canada needs a national drug surveillance system

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot Interviews with Dr. Robyn Tamblyn and Dr. Jenna Wong Medications can be life-saving. But they are only as good as our knowledge about them. The time is right for a national drug surveillance system to kept better track of our experiences with medications. Jenna Wong recently received her PhD from the […]

Facing some unpleasant truths about opioids

Facing some unpleasant truths about opioids

Over the past year I’ve lost track of how many times the opioid epidemic has, in one incarnation or another (Prince, naloxone, fentanyl, newborns in agonizing withdrawal and so on) found its way onto the front page news.

Health Canada fails to enforce its own rules on pharmaceutical advertising

Health Canada fails to enforce its own rules on pharmaceutical advertising

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 older people are shown swimming, bowling and having a good time. With a twinkle in their eye, they suggest the viewer “ask your doctor” about Celebrex.

Why an income-based drug plan is harmful to Ontario seniors

Why an income-based drug plan is harmful to Ontario seniors

Ontario spends $11-billion per year on prescription drugs. Nearly half of this is spent on medicines used by senior citizens, a group that receives public subsidies for nearly all of their prescription drug costs in Ontario.

Prescription drug costs hurting Canadians

Prescription drug costs hurting Canadians

Health Ministers from across Canada will gather in Banff to discuss issues of common interest and explore opportunities to work together. Pharmacare — a program that would see all prescription drug costs covered through a publicly funded system instead of out-of-pocket — will almost certainly be on the agenda.

Canada slow to respond to prescription opioid crisis

Canada slow to respond to prescription opioid crisis

In my first career as a pharmacist, I worked in more than 30 pharmacies across Nova Scotia, filling more than 100,000 prescriptions between 1990 and 1995. Some of these were for strong painkillers called opioids — drugs like morphine and oxycodone, which are chemically and biologically very similar to heroin.

Backgrounder: Canada’s prescription opioid crisis

Backgrounder: Canada’s prescription opioid crisis

“The misuse of opioids has grown exponentially with devastating consequences” – First Do No Harm: Responding to Canada’s Prescription Drug Crisis (Canadian Council on Substance Abuse, 2013).

Backgrounder: Pharmaceutical policy in Canada

Backgrounder: Pharmaceutical policy in Canada

Pharmaceutical costs have been rising dramatically over the past three decades, both in real terms and as a component of health care spending. In 2012, Canadians spent $947 per capita a year on pharmaceuticals, up from $147 per capita in 1985.