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National pharmacare clears another hurdle

National pharmacare continues to move forward, Newfoundland reviews age limits for tobacco purchases, and Alberta will review the effects of cannabis on youth. On that, and more, here is your Syntax Weekly Health Round-Up.

Around the Hill

  • At Committee, Members of the Standing Committee on Health (HESA) completed their study of Bill C-64, the federal government’s bid to establish a framework for national pharmacare. Despite a flurry of amendments proposed by the Official Opposition, the Bill passed without significant changes. The Bill will now proceed to Third Reading at the next sitting of the House of Commons.

Around Government 

  • The federal government has issued a call for proposals to support up to 20 projects that help improve understanding and knowledge about accessibility, reduce stigma and attitudinal barriers, and share best practices and lessons learned within the community on National AccessAbility Week activities to help support the broader culture change objectives of the Accessible Canada Act.
  • Speaking to reporters, Health Minister Mark Holland defended the government’s move to provide the Minister of Health with additional powers to pull certain products off the shelf if they are hurting people and not being used as intended. The Minister has taken the strong position as tobacco companies increasingly bring new nicotine pouches to market.

Around the Dominion

  • In Newfoundland, the provincial government announced the launch of public consultations as it considers legislative amendments related to the purchasing of tobacco and related products. The government is considering changes to tobacco laws that could prohibit the sale of tobacco to persons born after a certain date, increase the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21, and prohibit the sale of tobacco through vending machines. The government is also considering amendments to vaping rules.
  • In P.E.I., the provincial government announced the Community Grant for the Retention of Health Care Professionals, which will provide up to $2,500 for eligible projects that make communities more welcoming, diverse, and inviting for new and current healthcare professionals practising in the community. The objective is to support the recruitment and retention of foreign-trained health professionals.
  • In Alberta, the provincial governments announced a one-time grant of $280,000 to conduct a review of the available evidence and data regarding the impacts of cannabis use on youth. To conduct the review, Alberta is convening experts from the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Birmingham.
  • The Government of B.C. became the first government in Canada to cover the COVID-19 medication Paxlovid following a notice from the federal government that it would no longer cover the costs of the drug. It is anticipated that other provinces will move Paxlovid into their own pharmacare programs.
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