Regulators grapple with Canada’s first generic biologic drug

Biologic drugs have revolutionized treatments for diseases from cancer to multiple sclerosis. But because they’re developed out of living organisms, they’re more expensive than conventional drugs, adding to the strain on publicly funded drug plans. Fortunately, a new shift should make them cheaper. Many biologics will soon have their patents expire. That means Subsequent Entry Biologics (SEB) – which are

Values in health care

Mark Macleod healthydebate blogger

The language of health care has had dramatic change – we now commonly use terms like patient centred care, quality outcomes, accountability, and so on in our description of a current or desired state for health care systems and the delivery of care. One discussion I do not hear frequently enough is a discussion of

The sky is not falling

Irfan Dhalla blog editor

If you came here from another country and opened a newspaper, you might well come to the conclusion that Ontario’s health care system is falling apart. It seems that every day there is a headline about a scandal in one part of the health care system or another. An Auditor General’s report is released criticizing

We can sustain our health care system — here’s how

Loan deferral for medical students

There have been a number of Canadian reports recently which paint a gloomy picture of the future sustainability of the Canadian health care system. The reports all go something like this: health costs are inexorably rising and caring for a growing elderly population may eventually bankrupt our health care system. We clearly have choices to

What change do we want?

In my first post, “The Easy Lifting Has Already Been Done”, I noted some of the barriers to change in the health care system.  I will write further about barriers and possible solutions.  However, first I need to take one step back. That step is to address the necessity of change in how we deliver

Self-interest and health care funding

A recent, Toronto Star article by Martin Regg Cohn struck me as providing a very insightful example of the ethical choices facing health care leaders and stakeholders when advocating for their share of public funds.  Cohn notes that ‘in a world of self-interest, it’s refreshing to see one group rise above its own narrow self

So ‘no strings attached’ is good, eh?

For health policy wonks, 2011 ended not with a whimper, not with a bang but with a wallop.  Federal Finance Minister Flaherty thumped the federal government’s 2014 Accord ‘offer’ on the table. A special kind of offer, in fact a fait accompli: there’ll be no negotiation, no debate, no to-ing and fro-ing.  This is what

The easy lifting has already been done

Mark Macleod healthydebate blogger

The challenges facing the health care system are massive and despite some occasional messages to the contrary, the overwhelming opinion is that the health care system is not sustainable. Despite the mounting chorus, internal and external, telling us that the system isn’t sustainable, surprisingly little has been done. We have been nibbling around the edges

What is driving health care costs?

Health Care Cost Drivers

A recent report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information provides information about the major drivers of health care costs in the past decade, which include growing salaries for health care workers and greater intensity of treatment.  The report suggests that the aging population is not a major contributor to rising health care costs. These findings clash

Federal health spending without accountability

The 2004 Health Accord agreed to a total transfer of $41 billion of federal money to the provinces and territories for health care over a ten year period. This transfer ends in 2014 when the accord expires. The legacy of the Health Accord is mixed. There have been improvements in wait times for some operations

What is the federal government’s role in health care?

Polls suggest that health care is the most important issue to Canadians in the upcoming federal election.  However, in Canada, health care delivery is largely the responsibility of the provinces and territories.  The 2004 Health Accord invested $41 billion of federal dollars in health. What were the outcomes of this federal investment in health? History