By Roger Collier | CMAJ | Aug.12, 2016
- Health Canada changed its rules on medical marijuana to allow patients to grow cannabis at home. Starting Aug. 4, patients who have been authorized by a physician to use marijuana can grow enough to meet their daily needs instead of purchasing it from licensed commercial growers.
- The federal government has explored the “issues and impacts” of taxing sugar-sweetened beverages to help address obesity, according to information obtained by The Canadian Press. According to the document, the Heart and Stroke Foundation recommended a tax of five cents per 100 millilitres, which the foundation estimated would generate $1.8 billion a year.
- The number of people vaccinated for influenza increased modestly in areas of Canada where pharmacists were allowed to give the flu shot, found a study in CMAJ. In a survey, 28.8% of people said they received the flu shot, and a 2.2% increase was seen after the introduction of policies that permitted pharmacist administration of the flu vaccine.
- There have been 51 recorded cases of the intestinal illness cyclosporiasis in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, reported the Public Health Agency of Canada. The government is investigating whether the outbreak is linked to imported produce.
- The Ontario government will give $200 000 to a program aimed at improving the mental health of paramedics, who daily witness as many as four or five incidents of emotional or physical trauma. The program will include the development of resources to identify psychological hazards and increase the capacity of employers of paramedics to promote health and wellness.
- Quebec-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. is under investigation by the United States government for allegedly defrauding insurers by hiding ties to a mail-order pharmacy that boosted its sales, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company’s share price had already fallen almost 90% during the past year over concerns about other investigations into drug pricing and accounting practices, reported Reuters Canada.
- The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) and the Coalition of Ontario Doctors have both hired outside firms in their dispute over a tentative contract with the province’s government. The proposed deal, which must be accepted or rejected by Aug. 14, is supported by the OMA but opposed by the coalition.
- Vancouver Coastal Health launched an at-home detox program for drug users called Substance use Treatment and Response Team (START). The program is aimed at people who may have trouble attending a residential detox facility, such as single parents and those with disabilities.
- Almost a quarter of the 90 000 evacuees of the Fort McMurray fire have requested mental health services to date, reports the CBC. The city has brought in health professionals from other parts of Alberta, has set up a walk-in clinic, and counsellors will be in schools when they reopen in September.
- Ontario has promised $2.5 million over three years for five rural health centres. It is part of a project to create rural health hubs that will integrate health care services, including primary care, mental health care and acute and long-term care.
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