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Roger Collier | CMAJ | September 14, 2018

  • Only 25 of the 102 drug companies that Health Canada asked to stop marketing opioids to health care professionals responded to the request as of Sept. 5. New regulations on how drug companies can market opioids to doctors may be in place by early 2019.
  • The medical marijuana system will remain intact after the recreational use of cannabis becomes legal. The Canadian Medical Association had called for the medical stream to be phased out.
  • More than 1200 doctors in British Columbia have been required to submit fingerprints to the RCMP since 2017 because their personal information had similarities to that of sex offenders. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC has referred to the growing number of requests as “overwhelming.”
  • Private MRI clinics in British Columbia will be allowed to bill patients directly for an additional six months after Oct. 1, when the Medicare Protection Act comes into effect. Extra billing for medically necessary treatments will end at that time, but MRI clinics were granted a temporary exemption to help clear wait lists.
  • The number of patients who received medical cannabis prescriptions in Alberta increased from 17,195 in 2016 to 25,766 in 2017, according to new statistics from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. The percentage of doctors in the province prescribing cannabis, however, remained the same, at about 4%.
  • The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan is dealing with “an ever-increasing number of complaints and discipline matters.” The college received 2905 complaints about doctors in 2017, up from 2408 in 2016, prompting it to add another person to its legal team.
  • Dentists are prescribing too many antibiotics, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control. Fears of drug resistant infections lead to a 30% decrease in antibiotic prescriptions by doctors in British Columbia over the past two decades, but prescriptions from dentists increased 30% during the same period.
  • Nova Scotia announced funding for 15 new residency positions for medical specialists. The new spaces will become available July 2019 and will cost a total of $1.5 million a year.
  • Health care has become the dominant topic in the lead up to Quebec provincial election on Oct. 1. In a recent debate, the Liberal premier, Philippe Couillard, received questions from challengers on health worker burnout, medical specialist compensation, and lack of services in long-term care facilities.
  • A Quebec man is “doing well” after becoming the first Canadian to receive a face transplant. A Montreal hospital recently released details about the 30-hour procedure, which was performed in May on the 64-year-old patient.

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