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The following is a review of developments affecting health care in Canada

The information is updated the first week of every month - so ... make this a regular stop in your information gathering activities.

The following information has been compiled from publicly available sources, StratCom does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or the authenticity of the information and StratCom cannot be held liable for errors.

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Healthcare in Canada - September 1996

NEW BRUNSWICK launched The Wellness network. It is an advanced telecommunications network, operated by NBTel interActive and connects all hospital corporations in New Brunswick. In addition, doctors' offices have secure PC-access to hospital systems for on-line scheduling of diagnostic tests and obtaining lab results. Tele-radiology, which allows doctors to transmit X-rays and MRIs back and forth via computer -- even from home -- for consultation and diagnosis, is another application of the Wellness network in New Brunswick.

Base4 Bioinformatics Inc., a newly formed subsidiary of Allelix Biopharmaceuticals Inc., announced that it has established scientific partnerships with two highly-regarded research groups, the Government of Canada's National Research Council and the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, TORONTO. Base4 uses advanced computer methods to analyse the wealth of new information on the role of genes in normal health and disease.

ID Biomedical Corp., VANCOUVER announced that it has extended its research agreement with Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd. of Japan for an additional six month period. Under the agreement, ID Biomedical and Hitachi will continue their research collaboration to evaluate IDB's diagnostic technology for use in genetic and immunological testing. ID Biomedical is developing a DNA diagnostic system and related products based on its proprietary CPT technology.

Results of a new study performed in ONTARIO show that the incidence of invasive group A streptococcal infections is increasing. Dr. Donald E. Low, of Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, identified 323 patients with invasive group A streptococcal infections by the isolation of Streptococcus pyogenes between January 1, 1992, and December 31, 1993. They calculated annual incidence rates of 1.3 and 1.7 per 100,000 for 1992 and 1993, respectively. The study showed upper respiratory tract foci were more common in children, arthritis and pelvic infections more common in young adults, and necrotizing fasciitis more common in the elderly.

The Health Protection Branch, OTTAWA, has approved a new drug, innohep (tinzaparin) by Leo Laboratories Canada Ltd, Toronto, to treat blood clots in veins (venous thromboembolism), the most common preventable cause of death in hospital affecting more than 40,000 Canadians each year. The new anticoagulant belongs to a new class of drugs called low molecular weight heparins that can significantly change the way patients with blood clots are managed. The drug makes available the ability to receive treatment at home -- instead of in a hospital bed hooked up to an intravenous unit -- allows the patient to be more comfortable, in control of their own treatment, and prevents the disruption that results from an emergency hospitalization.

Two HAMILTON, ON, hospitals - Hamilton Civic Hospitals and Chedoke-McMaster have announced they plan to merge medical services.

BRITISH COLUMBIA's MDS/Metro McNair Clinical Laboratories has officially opened an automated medical testing laboratory. The automated system uses technology developed in partnership with AutoMed Corporation of Richmond.

Health Canada, OTTAWA, has approved the first blood transfusion alternative for elective surgery. EPREX(x) Sterile Solution (epoetin alfa), marketed by Ortho Biotech is used to increase patients' red blood cell count prior to major surgeries, helping to prepare patients for orthopedic, prostate, hysterectomy, vascular, cardiac, reduction mammoplasty and other operations. EPREX has been approved for surgical use to reduce or eliminate the need for donor blood transfusion. For patients who wish to donate their own blood, EPREX is also approved to facilitate pre-donations or autologous blood donations. This is especially helpful for patients with low blood counts or for those who may not be able to donate enough blood for their operations.

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Last modified: October 03, 1996