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Roger Collier | CMAJ | Nov. 4, 2016

  • Government revenues from taxation on legal marijuana will initially be in the hundreds of millions of dollars and is expected to grow as the market matures, according to Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has framed legalization as a public safety issue, has suggested the money go toward addiction treatment, mental health services and education programs.
  • Eighty-six Ontario doctors are under investigation for prescribing high doses of opioids, reports The Globe and Mail. The investigations, to be carried out by The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, were spurred by a provincial government examination of a narcotics monitoring database.
  • The United States doesn’t want “socialized health care like they have in Canada,” according to Republican vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has routinely criticized Canada’s health system during his campaign.
  • Vancouver has applied to open two new supervised-injection sites. The city’s mayor has called on the federal government to repeal “flawed and mean-spirited” legislation that requires cities to meet 26 criteria before applying for a site, which is he said creates an “onerous process that’s totally unnecessary and overboard.”
  • Quebec Health Minister Dr. Gaétan Barrette has ordered a productivity study for the province’s doctors. Barrette said Quebec has more doctors per capita than any other province and the government can’t afford to continue raising their salaries at the rate specified in a previous agreement.

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  • What is believed to be Canada’s first sample of liquid fentanyl was seized by police in Hamilton, Ontario. The sample is still being studied, however, so its concentration and strength is not yet known.
  • The case of an Ottawa fertility doctor accused of using his own sperm to inseminate patients has led to calls for greater regulation of fertility services. A potential class-action lawsuit has been filed against the physician, Dr. Norman Barwin.
  • The health and well-being of children and youth in British Columbia has improved in many areas, according to a report from the BC provincial health officer. Infant mortality has decreased by over 50% in 28 years, tobacco use dropped 10% over the past decade, and tooth decay is less common among kindergarteners.
  • The Manitoba government has hired a consulting firm to eliminate waste from its health care system and improve efficiency and responsiveness. The firm will examine medical services to determine if they are reasonably priced and producing acceptable results.
  • A nurse accused of killing eight elderly residents in long-term care facilities in Ontario made her first appearance in court. Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s case is scheduled to begin Nov. 18.

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