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Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | December 21, 2018

  • The federal government proposed draft rules for edible cannabis products, including bans on products packaged like candy and alcoholic drinks infused with the drug. The government also proposed hard caps on the amount of THC that cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals can contain.
  • Health Canada announced a plan to improve oversight of the safety of medical devices. The regulator will make public the data it uses to approve medical devices, will conduct more inspections of foreign manufacturers, and will be able to order companies to conduct more tests if problems with devices emerge.
  • A Statistics Canada poll found that health workers face an elevated risk of sexual harassment on the job. Among 9000 respondents, 27% of women of 21% of men working in the health industry said they had been harassed at work compared to 19% of women and 13% of men overall.
  • British Columbia health officials said billing issues are not to blame for the growing number of BC patients refused health care in Alberta. According to the BC Ministry of Health, funds continue to flow between the provinces, however, the Ministry did not respond to further questions about the refusals.
  • A jury investigating the fatal overdose of a homeless man in Toronto recommended that Ontario declare the ongoing opioid crisis a public health emergency. The coroner’s office revealed during the inquest that three to four Ontarians die of opioid overdoses every day, and that the number of deaths has increased 16% since 2017.
  • A class action lawsuit filed against the government of Alberta alleges that senior officials and ministers knew about coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women. The lawsuit seeks $500 million in damages, plus an additional $50 million in punitive damages, on behalf of Indigenous women in Alberta who doctors sterilized without consent before Dec. 14 this year.
  • Nova Scotia reported increasing emergency room closures, particularly in smaller, rural areas. Emergency rooms in the province were open 96% of the time they were supposed to be in 2017-18, down from 98.3% of the time two years prior.
  • Manitoba Health reported that 43 serious mistakes in health care occurred in the last three months of 2017. These included a diagnostic mix up in which a woman with a breast tumor was told she was cancer-free while another who did not have breast cancer underwent an unnecessary lumpectomy.
  • Doctors in Newfoundland and Labrador complained that patients are contributing to long wait times by missing appointments without cancelling. One St. John’s clinic recorded nearly 2300 “no shows” since November 2016, representing a waste of up to 571 hours in which doctors could have seen other patients.
  • Quebec’s public health insurance program will cover a drug treatment for spinal muscular atrophy types 2 and 3. The drug, Spinraza, costs $118000 per dose and patients must take a minimum of three doses annually.

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