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Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | August 3, 2018

  • A national shortage of EpiPens (0.3 mg) may continue for months, and possibly into 2019, because of ongoing delays at a manufacturing facility. Health Canada warned that pharmacies will likely start running out of the allergy medication in the coming days or weeks.
  • Quebec’s highest court authorized a class-action lawsuit on behalf of men who allegedly developed erectile dysfunction and other health problems after taking the drugs Propecia or Proscar. The defendants are Merck Canada and Merck Frosst Canada.
  • Alberta Health Services may be in breach of privacy laws because of gaps in its protection of patients’ health information, according to a leaked report. A recent security assessment identified “a number of significant risks” in the province’s protection of medical records.
  • Seniors at privately run care homes in British Columbia are far more likely to die in hospital than those who live in homes run by public health authorities, according to a report by a seniors advocate. Seniors living in private facilities are 32% more likely to be sent to an emergency department and once there, 54% more likely to die in hospital.
  • The wait for cataract surgery on Prince Edward Island has increased to 316 days since one of three ophthalmologists in the province went on leave. Health officials have approved at least 150 patients to seek care out of province but their travel expenses will not be covered.
  • Newfoundland has eliminated wait times for mental health and addictions counselling in the Grand Bank area after six people died by suicide in a 14-month period. The province introduced a same-day walk-in service, among other community initiatives, to eliminate waits that used to be as long as eight months.
  • Ontario’s nursing home inspections branch is understaffed and cannot meet its legislated obligations, an inspector told a provincial inquiry into long-term care safety. The inspector noted, however, that no inspection process could have prevented the murders of care home residents by nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer.
  • Surgeons at McGill University Health Centre in Montreal had to use flashlights while finishing operations during a nearly hour-long black out. The hospital has been plagued by a host of electrical and ventilation problems raising questions about the private consortium charged with maintaining the hospital.
  • Alberta will pay doctors $90 million in compensation that was held back to ensure spending on physician services came in under budget. In 2016, doctors agreed to each forgo between $5000 and $12 000 to contain growth in health spending.
  • A BC resident used her obituary to advocate for doctors to stop fat shaming heavier patients. Ellen Maud Bennett died on May 11 after being diagnosed with cancer and told she had only days to live. In her obituary, she said she had felt unwell for years but her concerns had been dismissed by doctors who instead told her to lose weight.
  • The Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Cancer Society wants hookah lounges banned in the province. The province’s tobacco act only bans smoking tobacco products in bars and hookah lounges claim their products are herbal.

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