Roger Collier | CMAJ | March 8, 2019

  • The federal government’s advisory council on national pharmacare released an interim report on its progress. The report lists three “foundational elements” of pharmacare: creation of a national drug agency, development of an evidence-based formulary, and investment in drug data and IT systems.
  • Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns launched a campaign urging the federal government to ban handguns and assault weapons, as well as ensure “swift passage” of proposed firearms legislation already before the Senate. The group, comprising between 50 and 75 physicians, would like debates on gun violence and injuries to be reframed as a public health issue.
  • The National Hockey League Alumni Association is partnering with a Canadian cannabis company for a health research project. The research will focus on the effects of cannabis on the physical and emotional symptoms of concussions.
  • The new contract between Ontario’s doctors and the government will increase spending on health care by an estimated $1.5 billion over four years in Ontario. The contract has no hard cap on increases to the physician services budget.
  • Medical students in British Columbia visited the provincial legislature to advocate for an increase in medical residency positions. The province’s health minister said the government takes the concern seriously but wouldn’t confirm if it will create new spaces.
  • Canadians struggling with opioid addiction may soon have access to implants that provide a low dose of buprenorphine for six months. Physicians will require training on how to insert the match-sized implants under the skin of the upper arm.
  • The Quebec government asked health centres to notify women in the province who received textured breast implants since 1995 that they may be at increased risk of cancer. The province’s health ministry estimates that as many as 15,000 women may be affected.
  • The federal government will stop paying for Canadian homeopaths to visit Honduras to provide unproven therapies after 2019–20. Doctors and academics raised concerns over the funding, noting that homeopathic treatments are not only ineffective but may prevent people from seeking needed medical care.
  • Toronto Public Health is investigating a confirmed case of measles in Toronto. The case involves an infant that became infected on an overseas trip.
  • Quebec is reviving the post of the province’s commissioner of health and welfare. The post was abolished in 2016, leaving the province without an independent watchdog of its health care system.

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