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Roger Collier | CMAJ | June 29, 2018

  • Health Canada announced regulations to support the Cannabis Act to help “protect the health and safety of Canadians” and youth in particular. The regulations include rules for plain packaging, labelling and testing of cannabis products, as well as security requirements for production sites.
  • The rate of C. difficile infection in Canadian hospitals decreased from 5.9 per 10,000 patient-days to 4.3 between 2009 to 2015, found a study published in CMAJ. However, infection prevention and control practices, antimicrobial stewardship and environmental cleaning “should continue to be strengthened at the local level,” recommended the authors.
  • The government has asked pharmaceutical companies to suspend the marketing of opioids in Canada immediately. Health Canada wants industry to do so voluntarily while it develops policies to restrict opioid marketing.
  • Women have to right to opt for caesaren section when giving birth even if the health of the mother or child aren’t at risk, according to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. A physician who doesn’t want to perform a pre-planned caesarean for ethical or medical reasons must refer the patient to another doctor, stated the society.
  • Health Canada warned Canadians about the limitations of fentanyl test strips in detecting fentanyl or other potential deadly substances in street drugs. The strips were not designed to test street drugs before consumption.
  • Canada’s tobacco industry must switch to plain packaging without logos within a year, according to new federal regulations. The tobacco industry claims the deadline is unrealistic and will only increase the sale of contraband cigarettes.
  • Canadian doctors and health care organizations received nearly $75 million in payments from 10 of the country’s largest pharmaceutical companies last year. The disclosure was voluntary, but Ontario and British Columbia are working on legislation to make disclosure of drug-company payments mandatory.
  • The incoming Progressive Conservative government in Ontario has reached out to the Ontario Medical Association to return to negotiations on a physician services agreement. Ontario physicians have been without a deal for four years and arbitration had been scheduled to begin in July.
  • Substance use costs Canada an estimated $38.4 billion a year, or $1100 per person, according to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. The estimate is based on health care, lost production and criminal justice costs associated with the use of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other substances.
  • Caregivers for seniors with dementia experience distress at a rate of 45%, compared to 26% for caregivers for other seniors, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. They also spend more time providing care, 26 hours per week compared to 17.

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