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Roger Collier | CMAJ | May 4, 2018

  • All prescription opioids will come with warning stickers and patient handouts starting in October, announced Health Canada. The handouts will contain safety information and the stickers will warn of the possibility of dependence, addiction and overdose.
  • The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is taking too long to resolve complaints against physicians, according to an inquiry commissioned by the Ontario government. The report recommends that the college streamline their disciplinary process and appoint a patient advocate to help people file complaints.
  • A House of Commons committee heard testimony from substance abuse experts and other medical professionals about the need for restrictions on the sale of pre-mixed alcoholic drinks high in sugar and caffeine. The drinks, popular among young people, should have less sugar and alcohol, be more expensive, come in smaller sizes, and not be sold in stores accessible by youth, recommended presenters.
  • Two class action lawsuits have been proposed against Ontario long-term care providers, but have not yet been certified by a judge. The statements of claim contain allegations, unproven in court, of negligence, failure to provide proper care, and breaches of fiduciary duties.
  • Health Canada will soon release a report that may change how blood plasma is collected, reported CTV News. Saskatchewan and New Brunswick are the only provinces with for-profit plasma clinics, and Saskatchewan’s health ministry defended the practice of pay-for-plasma, stating that “anything we can do to increase the supply of plasma is probably going to help patient care in the longer term.”
  • Some devices used at home for measuring blood pressure are inaccurate and may lead Canadians to make incorrect decisions about their health, according to Hypertension Canada. The organization has released a list of recommended devices with tips on how to use them properly.
  • The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) issued an apology after its governing council voted not to open meetings with an acknowledgement of Indigenous peoples’ traditional lands. The defeat of the motion to open meetings with the traditional acknowledgement is a “major step backwards and calls into question the OMA’s commitment to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” stated the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.
  • Only 54% of Canadians with early symptoms of potential eye disease (59% of the population) see a health care professional for a medical eye exam, according to a survey commissioned by the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. The society warns that early detection and intervention is essential to preventing eye diseases from advancing and causing vision loss or blindness.
  • A homeopathic remedy containing rabid-dog saliva will no longer be sold in Canada, announced Health Canada. The product was never approved for sale in the country, and the individual involved in its distribution in Canada has agreed to stop selling it.
  • The United States Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about potentially contaminated oysters from British Columbia, which have been linked to about 100 cases of illness in California and have also been distributed to other states. In Canada, there have been 126 reported cases of gastrointestinal illness this year that were linked to oyster consumption.

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