Pharmacy scope of practice and access to Opioid Agonist Therapies after COVID-19

Sarah Lussier-Hoskyn, MA Economics BPHA, affiliated researcher CHPI
Brett Skinner, PhD, CEO CHPI, Editor CHP Journal

Under the regulations contained in the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), prescribing, selling, distributing and other related activities involving drugs like opioids are only allowed for designated health professions. On March 19, 2020, Health Canada issued an exemption, temporarily expanding pharmacists’ scope of practice to include activities usually prohibited by the CDSA. The exemption was implemented partly to facilitate continuity of access to opioid agonist therapies (OAT) for people suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article discusses the implications of making the exemption permanent.

PREVIEW: January 27, 2022 | PUBLISHED: January 31, 2022

Comparing wait times for an Alzheimer’s treatment in Canada and other G7 countries

Soeren Mattke, MD DSc, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA
Mo Wang, MS, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA

The emerging disease-modifying Alzheimer’s treatments present a health system challenge because of the combination of a large prevalent patient pool and a complex diagnostic process. Analyses of system preparedness have projected Canada to have the longest and most protracted wait times for access among G7 countries. This policy analysis used comparative health system data and 17 semi-structured interviews with experts in Canada. The authors conclude that Canada faces a unique challenge to make a disease-modifying Alzheimer’s treatment accessible because of limited capacity for memory care.

PREVIEW: January 27, 2022 | PUBLISHED: January 31, 2022

Comparing COVID-19 Vaccine Procurement in Canada, the UK and Israel

Mayvis Rebeira, PhD, Affiliated Scholar, Canadian Health Policy Institute

This commentary article compares Canada’s vaccination procurement strategy with that of UK and Israel. Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine supply seemed unreliable in the early months of 2021 when both UK and Israel were able to procure a steady supply of vaccines for their population. As of the beginning of May 2021, Canada had only fully vaccinated (two doses administered) 3% of its population compared to Israel at 58% and UK at 23%. Canada eventually accelerated its vaccine distribution and by the end of August 2021, 66% of the population had been fully vaccinated.

PUBLISHED: September 23, 2021

Are Canadian prices for patented medicines excessive compared to other countries?

The prices of patented medicines sold in Canada are regulated by a quasi-judicial agency of the federal government known as the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB). In August 2019 Health Canada introduced changes to the guidelines the PMPRB uses to set ceiling prices for new medicines. The new regulations come into force on January 1, 2022. The PMPRB narrative justification for amending the regulations is that Canadian prices are too high, and it cites Canada’s rank in international comparisons as evidence. The agency relies on its own internal analysis to support this claim, but it has not been independently audited. A recent study published in CHP Journal, tested the validity of the PMPRB’s narrative. Prices for 100 top selling patented medicines in Canada were compared to prices for symmetrical products in the 11 countries specified by the new regulations for international referencing, plus former reference countries Switzerland and the United States. The results contradict the PMPRB rationale for the new regulations.