Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | Jan. 13, 2017
- The Canadian Medical Protective Association advised doctors to report parents who refuse to vaccinate their children to child welfare authorities in certain “exceptional circumstances.” Such cases might include when remaining unvaccinated threatens the life or long-term health of a child.
- Sugar is added to two-thirds of food and beverages, including products marketed as “healthy,” a CMAJ Open study revealed. Researchers examined the ingredients of 40 829 products for 30 different kinds of added sugar, including dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, glucose, fructose and fruit juice concentrate.
- Employer-funded private insurance plans in Canada wasted $15 billion over the last five years paying extra for expensive prescription drugs when cheaper alternatives were available, according to research conducted for CBC’s the Fifth Estate. That’s nearly 20% of the $81 billion private insurance companies have spent on medicines since 2011.
- Canadian insurance companies made a voluntary pledge to no longer ask for genetic testing information from people applying for life insurance up to $250 000. However, proponents of a federal bill that would make genetic discrimination illegal fear the move is an attempt to forestall wider sanctions on using genetic information to determine insurance eligibility.
- Doctors reported that workers’ compensation boards ignored their advice about when and how patients with complex injuries, chronic pain or mental illness can safely return to work. In a study conducted by the Toronto-based Institute for Work and Health, doctors said they rarely encountered the same problems when patients had visible, acute physical injuries.
- Ontario needs to cut an extra $2.8 billion over the next two years to meet targets for limiting growth in health care spending, the province’s Financial Accountability Office reported. The Liberal government has promised to curb the annual increase in the health budget to an average of 1.7% a year between 2015 and 2018.
- Private clinics in Quebec are cancelling and refusing new ultrasound appointments now that the province is paying for the scans instead of patients. The government has proposed to pay radiologists $70 per scan, regardless of whether they work in private or public facilities, and private clinics argue that’s not enough to cover operation costs.
- A new biobank in northern British Columbia will collect tissue and blood samples from people in rural and First Nations communities. The samples and anonymous health information collected by the biobank will inform research into tailored health programs and treatments for these communities.
- A BC health store came under fire for hosting a natural remedy promotional talk by an Alberta man convicted in 2016 for failing to provide the necessaries of life to his 18-month-old son, who died from bacterial meningitis. David Stephan was sentenced to four months in prison for opting to treat his son Ezekiel with a variety of natural remedies despite being told the boy was gravely ill, and will be back in court in March to fight a Crown appeal for a tougher sentence.
- New Brunswick’s health minister said “the need is not there” to fund the opioid overdose drug naloxone in the province. Fentanyl and other opiates have been involved in at least 173 drug-related deaths in New Brunswick since 2008, according to CBC News.
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