Roger Collier | CMAJ | June 9, 2017

  • There were at least 2458 apparent overdose deaths involving opioids in Canada last year, reported the Public Health Agency of Canada. That amounts to seven deaths a day and 8.8 deaths per 100 000 population.
  • Quebec will hold public consultations on how to regulate recreational marijuana before introducing legislation in the fall. The consultations will address issues such as health, safety, security, distribution and taxation.
  • Treatment for autism will be covered for all diagnosed children in Ontario until age 18 under a new $533-million program. Provincially-funded therapy will be available regardless of coexisting conditions or severity of autism symptoms.
  • The Open Pharma initiative launched with a mission to improve transparency in Canadian health care. The campaign, backed by several well-known academics and physicians, is advocating for public disclosure of all payments and gifts from drug companies to prescribing physicians, public release of safety and efficacy data on drugs and medical devices held by Health Canada, and for all industry-funded research to be open access.
  • Ontario introduced legislation to ban employers from asking for doctors’ notes from employees who take 10 or fewer sick days a year. Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins said the move will allow employees to rest when ill and reduce unnecessary appointments for doctors and nurse practitioners.
  • The initial public offering (IPO) of Canada’s second-largest licensed producer of medical marijuana has been labeled “a bust.” MedReleaf’s stock price fell by 28% on its first day on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the largest drop for a Canadian IPO in 16 years.
  • Physician advocacy groups Canadian Doctors for Medicare and Doctors for Responsible Healthcare denounced a poll of 12 000 physicians conducted by the Toronto branch of the Ontario Medical Association that including questions about charging patients out of pocket. One item in the survey asked about allowing patients with two problems to pay for the second issue, and another proposed copayments and no-show fees to keep patients accountable.
  • All babies in born in Quebec will be screened for cystic fibrosis starting in the spring of 2018. Despite having a higher incidence of the disease (1 in 2500) than the national average (1 in 3500), Quebec is the only jurisdiction in Canada that doesn’t screen newborns for cystic fibrosis.
  • British Columbia opened a supervised-injection site in Surrey, the first site in the province outside of Vancouver. The facility, called SafePoint, will open 14 years after Vancouver opened Insite, Canada’s first supervised-injection site for intravenous drug users.
  • The federation representing family physicians in Quebec (FMOQ) stated that it may not be possible to have 85% of the province’s residents find a family doctor by Dec. 31, 2017, a target they agreed to in 2015. If the target isn’t met, the province’s government could penalize family doctors by reducing their income by up to 30%.

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