The following is a review of developments affecting health care in CanadaThe 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.
Healthcare in Canada - October 2001
Alberta has launched the Anticoagulation Management Service, a three year plan whereby pharmacists will manage patients taking anticoagulant medication. The initiative will ensure warfarin patients receive the intensive monitoring and follow-up they require but may not be receiving in light of physician supply and access problems. Pharmacists take the lead in directing care through 24 satellite clinics to be set up by fall 2003 within community pharmacies across Alberta. Financial support for the $1.4-million project is being provided by the province's Health Innovation Fund.
The Saskatoon "GenoCentre," owned by Genometrics Corp., was officially opened October 2001 and expects to see its first patients by November. Testing will cost an average of $1,500 to $3,000. The center can test for about 1,700 different diseases and was promising test results in four to eight weeks, compared to about one year at publicly funded clinics. While lab samples will be sent away for testing initially, the company said it hopes to have a DNA lab set up in Saskatoon within a year. GenoCentres clinics also are planned for several major Canadian and U.S. cities by year-end. Genometrics said it expects physicians will want to get involved as financial backers.
Myriad Genetics and the provincial health services are in a major battle over patent rights to Myriad's BRCA breast cancer gene tests. Myriad has threatened to sue the provinces to stop performing their own screening services. The Ontario government has told hospitals to continue genetic testing for breast cancer, despite potential legal action from Myriad. On May 31, lawyers for Myriad notified provincial governments of the company's patent on the breast cancer susceptibility genes - BRCA1 and BRCA2 and its exclusive rights to test for those genes. Myriad requested that all genetic tests for breast cancer in Canada be routed to the company's laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah, or through its designated licencees. The costs of Myriad's tests are approximately three times the cost of Canadian tests. Ontario is engaged in a dialogue with British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec—the other three provinces with the laboratory facilities to provide BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing. Since July 13, British Columbia has discontinued testing for these genes, meaning women who want the procedure must pay out of their own pocket for Myriad's test—a cost of $3,850. Alberta has continued to fund and provide their own in-province testing, but has made no final decision on whether they will continue to do so in the future. Quebec has agreed to Myriad's terms. In addition to speaking with other provinces, Ontario's health ministry has also been in contact with a French cancer research body, the Curie Institute. The institute is part of a coalition of 17 French research and clinical agencies challenging the impact of Myriad's patent through the European Patent Office.
Never say that Canadians lack imagination ! Dr. Mark Fletcher, a Nova Scotia emergency room physician in Dartmouth and Truro, is collaborating with the Atlantic Wholesalers' Superstore chain, which offers its customers pharmacy services, to extend that to emergency medical care. Family Focus clinics are now located in a Dartmouth supermarket and another in Lower Sackville. Their services are available weekdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.
Healthcare in Canada - September 2001
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Last modified: November 01, 2001