Biggest Healthcare News in Canada in 2018

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Over the past few years, the healthcare industry has advanced significantly with the help of technology and other services. Just like with any other country, Canada has also reported many changes and news to their healthcare system in the year 2018. Below are some of the biggest healthcare news in Canada in 2018.

PrescribeIT™: New e-prescribing service offered by McKesson Canada

One of the biggest news in Canada was the agreement that McKesson Canada signed with a not-for-profit electronic service, PrescribeIT™, in order to help their pharmacy network connect prescribers and pharmacies.

It was on October 16th. 2018 that McKesson Canada finally announced that it will be offering PrescribeIT™ to its pharmacy network. This agreement is with Canada Health Infoway, digital health service in Canada, with the hopes of promoting online access to healthcare related information.

This agreement between the two partners presents new digital experiences for retail operators in pharmacies that are currently affiliated with McKesson Canada. This service will be eventually be offered to pharmacies through Nexxsys.

In Canada and other countries all over the world benefit greatly from e-prescribing medications in the healthcare industry. There are millions of prescriptions that are lost and damaged by Canadian citizens resulting in the loss of millions of dollars, increasing the costs of healthcare. With e-prescribing technology and services, there is little to no risk of lost prescriptions as they are all stored electronically. As of now, PrescribeIT™ is Canada’s only not-for-profit electronic prescribing service.

Cannabis Legalization

The legalization of marijuana in Canada means that there is a “new reality” for Canadian healthcare. With the legalization day that occured on October 17th, 2018, Canadians have the access to cannabis which means that the government is heavily involved with the regulations of Canadian hospitals. The Canadian Medical Association has urged the government to closely monitor the issues in the hospitals.

Health Canada has continued the medical marijuana system after the recreational use was legalized as the Canadian Medical Association asked that the medical marijuana system be phased out post-legalization. With the legalization, there is no reason for physicians to be involved if people want to access cannabis, as stated on CBC news.

According to Global News, “For Canadians who choose pot, the CMA endorses Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines, which include using a vaporizer, avoiding deep inhalation and choosing low-THC products. (THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis)”.

GeneNews Expands Coverage by Commercial Health Insurance Networks

On December 28th, 2018, GeneNews announced that it has an agreement with Three Rivers Provider Network (TRPN) for Innovative Diagnostic Laboratory (IDL’s) tests for early cancer detection. TRPN is a growing provider network with over 200 million lives that have access to their network of services and facilities.

GeneNews is an innovator in the liquid biopsy field. The company is committed to becoming leaders in advanced and personalized medicine for early detection of cancer and other chronic diseases. Their mission is to assess and make available a comprehensive menu of diagnostics that provide physicians as well as patients with actionable information to improve health outcomes by the early diagnosis of disease.

GeneNews is currently preparing for their first quarter in 2019 in order to place screenings for high-risk employee groups and collaborating with large networks of physicians that aligns with their Direct to Consumer focus.

Health Canada to improve safety of medical devices after probe reveals risky products

On December 20th, 2018, Health Canada announced an action plan to improve the safety of medical devices, such as breast implants and pacemakers after the media reports findings showed that Canadians were receiving risky products that were pulled from the market by other countries.

A Toronto Star and CBC investigation found that at least 1400 Canadians have died since 2008 due to medical device incidents. Another 14000 Canadians were reported to have injuries over a 10-year period.

This plan includes a series of steps to improve how the products get onto the market in the first place and the follow-up monitoring of medical devices that are already being used in order to boost the quality and safety of medical devices. Health Canada is also exploring the idea of expanding the mandatory reporting of incidents related to these issues to private clinics and long-term care facilities with the use of new regulations.

Prescription opioids will soon carry warning stickers, says Health Canada

Starting in October 2018, Health Canada announced that all prescription opioids must now carry a warning sticker about the potential adverse effects. Pharmacists are also required to provide information handouts to their consumers about certain narcotics. These handouts are required to include the signs and potential side-effects of opioid overdose in the handout, along with warnings to keep it out of the reach of children.

This new regulation requires pharmaceutical companies to develop risk-management plans associated with the use of the drugs aimed at reducing the potential harms that come along with the use.

This new regulation is part of Vanessa Young and her law, named Vanessa’s Law when she died in 2000 at the age of 15 as a result of taking prescription drugs. This announcement makes it Ottawa’s first time using the regulatory power f the legislation to place conditions on license in order to sell medications.

ALS drug approved by Health Canada could slow down progression of fatal disease

Health Canada has approved a drug called Radicava to help patients that are currently living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) which is a debilitating disease that causes death after a few years of diagnosis. There are around 3000 Canadians that are currently living with ALS, according to the ALS Society of Canada.

“You will be able to walk longer, you will be able to take care of yourself longer, you’ll be able to work longer, and you’ll be able to play with your children or grandchildren longer,” Montreal neurologist Dr. Angela Genge told CBC News.

The generic name of this drug is edaravone which has been found to slow down the progression of ALS. This drug was approved through the priority review process after being reviewed by Health Canada.

News Reporter
Greg Jones: Greg's blog posts are known for their clear and concise coverage of economic and financial news. With a background as a financial journalist, he offers readers valuable insights into the complexities of the global economy.