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Health

Fear mounting that changes to drug pricing in Canada could stifle innovation

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OTTAWA — Some Canadian patients and groups that advocate on their behalf are sounding the alarm about the federal government’s recent changes to the way it regulates the cost of patented medicines.

Toronto lawyer and longtime Liberal supporter Chris MacLeod, who lives with cystic fibrosis, said Thursday that it pains him to speak out against the government but he fears lives could be on the line as a result of what he calls a “wholly irresponsible” approach.

“It will be delayed access at best; denial or no access at worst,” MacLeod said.

Health Canada recently finalized its long-awaited changes to the process of establishing drug prices, which include providing the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board with the market price of medicines rather than an inflated list price.

The department says the board — first created 30 years ago to ensure companies don’t use monopolies to charge excessive costs — can now consider whether the drug price actually reflects the value it has for patients.

Earlier this month, board chair Dr. Mitchell Levine also said the body now has the tools and information it needs to meaningfully protect Canadian consumers from excessive prices.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor issued a similar statement Thursday, noting the objective of the changes, which have taken three years to implement, was to ultimately lower prices while making sure Canadians get access to the medicines they need.

The government has billed the changes as an effort to establish the groundwork for a national pharmacare program.

MacLeod, however, fears the changes will ultimately drive the list prices down to the point where drug companies will not seek to bring new, game-changing medicines to Canada.

The Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders said it shares MacLeod’s concern, adding that while everyone wants to have access to medications at affordable prices, it risks making new therapies less available.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent in April prior to the finalization of the regulations, the organization co-signed a letter urging the government to change its course.

“We all want to have access to medicines at affordable prices,” the letter said. “However, these proposed changes by the PMPRB will mean that many new therapies will not be available in Canada.”

President and CEO Dr. Durhane Wong-Rieger said the organization is worried about the signal the decision sends in terms of Canada’s willingness to provide competitive pricing for drugs.

“If we end up being a country that is priced so very low that companies are afraid it is going to impact their ability to actually market elsewhere, they won’t come to us first,” Wong-Rieger said.

—Follow @kkirkup on Twitter

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

Alberta

THE 100 MILLION DOLLAR ANNOUNCEMENT – First Phase of Red Deer Regional Hospital Expansion to start in 2021!

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The Government of Alberta announces a major $100 million first phase expansion of the Red Deer Hospital.

First phase of Red Deer hospital expansion announced

The Alberta government is committing $100 million to begin expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

This capital funding is in addition to the $20.6 billion annual budget for health services, the highest ever in the province and the highest per capita of all provinces.

“For years, residents of central Alberta and Red Deer have been calling for their hospital to be expanded. Our government is the first to listen. I’m proud to announce funding will be made available as part of Budget 2020 for the first phase of the Red Deer hospital expansion.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre is the busiest hospital outside Edmonton and Calgary and has operated beyond its design capacity for many years.

The funding will expedite work to finalize the project scope, construction schedule, operating budget, and expansion of health care services at the facility.

“Past governments wasted years on half-measures and planning that we are completing now. This initial $100-million commitment is our promise to Red Deer that we will get this done right, and as soon as possible.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“Designing, planning and building health infrastructure provides good jobs for Albertans. We are committed to getting the front-end work of this project right so that the people of Red Deer and surrounding areas have a hospital that meets their needs.”

Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure

“The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre is one of the busiest hospitals in Alberta and is the primary health-service provider for our citizens, the regional population, and every Albertan travelling along the central QEII corridor. Today’s announcement by the Government of Alberta responds to this longstanding infrastructure need of our community. The lives, health and well-being of our loved ones matter most of all, and this vital investment and expansion will help ensure access to care and improved health outcomes that the people of Red Deer and central Alberta critically need.”

Tara Veer, mayor, City of Red Deer

“This is excellent news for Red Deer and all of central Alberta. The Red Deer community has long advocated for improvements to the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, and this initial funding commitment clearly demonstrates our government’s willingness to listen to, and act upon, the concerns of Albertans from all across the province.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education and MLA for Red Deer-North

“This is great news for central Albertans! Thank you to the leadership of Premier Kenney and Minister Shandro in hearing the concerns of central Albertans and taking decisive action to improve access to much-needed health services in our community.”

Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer-South

Quick facts

  • The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre provides a full spectrum of acute care, including advanced surgery, internal medicine and diagnostics, as well as obstetrics, pediatrics, oncology, critical care and emergency care.
  • Approximately 50 per cent of patients seen at the hospital are referred from outside Red Deer.
  • The population of the Red Deer area is expected to increase by 24 per cent to 358,000 by 2035.

 

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Community

Judith: I’m in a good place now.

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PCN Judith

Judith was in her early eighties and living on her own when she ran into health issues that made it unsafe to be alone. She is a poor senior and neither her or her family knew where she could go to live safely.

Her family physician set up an appointment with the RDPCN Elder Care Assessment Clinic which she attended with her daughter. Judith was very nervous and hesitant about this appointment. When she got there she found a group of supportive, empathetic, courteous and helpful health care professionals. They made her very comfortable and relaxed. The assessment was very valuable. It set a baseline for Judith’s present condition. Her medications were reviewed which helped Judith, her family and her Doctor know what was going on. They informed her of some valuable resources including physio at the hospital. In fact, the family states that they were very surprised how much they didn’t know about the senior supports available. Previously the fees she was paying privately for physio were draining her resources. The clinic bridged her with community supportive living options and she fell in love with Pine Lodge. Luckily for her they had space and she willingly moved in a few months later. Her biggest challenge then was to downsize her stuff.

Judith and her family know this move would not have been nearly as smooth without the Elder Care Assessment Clinic. They are shocked and amazed how her move and accessing resources for her health needs came together so well. The PCN connected her with the key resources she needed. Judith and her family found out there is a system for poor seniors, and the Elder Care Assessment clinic is a great way to connect with it. Judith is in a very good situation now.

Click below for some other stories from Primary Care Network:

I Did Everything the Family Nurse suggested and it Worked like Magic!

Achieving Mental Health is an Everyday Task

 

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february, 2020

sun12jan(jan 12)2:00 pmsun22mar(mar 22)5:00 pmAnne Frank: A History for Today opening at Red Deer MAG(january 12) 2:00 pm - (march 22) 5:00 pm mst Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery Address: 4525 - 47A Avenue, Red Deer

sun02feb(feb 2)7:00 pmsun15mar(mar 15)8:00 pm7:00 pm - (march 15) 8:00 pm Festival Hall, 4214 58 St, Red Deer, AB Event Organized By: Country Pride Dance Club

fri28febsun01mar54th Annual Sport & Outdoor Show4:00 pm - (march 1) 9:00 pm

fri28feb6:00 pm11:00 pmFriday Family DanceFamily Dance6:00 pm - 11:00 pm

fri28feb7:00 pm11:00 pmBattle of the Bands for Crime Prevention7:00 pm - 11:00 pm Burgundy's Food & Stage, 5008 48 ST Event Organized By: The Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre

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