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A plan for pharmacare, Health Canada pulls Goop products, rising teen emergency visits for self-harm, and more in this week’s top Canadian health news.

Health News Recap

  • Canada should have a universal, single-payer, public pharmacare program, according to the final report of a federal advisory panel. The report recommended the creation of a national drug agency to oversee universal coverage of a shortlist of essential medicines by 2022, which would expand to a comprehensive formulary by 2027.
  • New Brunswick introduced legislative amendments to require immunization of all children attending public schools and child care centres unless they have medical exemptions. Under the proposed changes, unvaccinated children without medical exemptions will have to be homeschooled or go to private schools.
  • British Columbia wrapped up public consultation on recommendations from a report that called for an overhaul of the province’s regulation of health professionals. The report proposed a single register for all health professions, managed by an independent organization responsible for complaints and discipline, separate from regulatory colleges.
  • Teen emergency visits for self-harm doubled in Ontario between 2009 and 2017, after six years of steady decline, according to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. The number of teens visiting Ontario emergency rooms for mental health problems increased 78% over the same period.
  • Patients filed a record 9493 enquiries and complaints with British Columbia health authorities in 2017/18. Of these, 7878 were complaints about quality of care, including concerns about misdiagnoses, staff conduct and accessibility.
  • Quebec tabled legislation that would give pharmacists expanded powers, including administering vaccines and adjusting, renewing or cancelling prescriptions. The law would also allow pharmacists to assess a person’s physical and mental condition “to ensure the proper use of medications.”
  • The Nova Scotia Health Authority is investigating a potential privacy breach affecting 2841 patients. The health authority’s IT security team discovered the breach after an employee’s email account was compromised in a phishing attack.
  • Saskatchewan will fully cover the cost of the abortion pill Mifegymiso. The province is the last in Canada to provide universal coverage of the drug.
  • Health Canada inspectors found unapproved sunscreen products for sale at the new Toronto location of Goop, actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle and wellness business. The company pulled the unapproved products from shelves but still sells them online.
  • Health facilities in Saskatoon and the surrounding area are in “poor condition” and are not properly maintained, according to a provincial audit. The facilities have an estimated $1.5 billion in deferred maintenance costs.

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