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War on Drugs (Prices) 

Minister Duclos reflects on National Immunization Week and gets an earful on drug prices.
On that, and more, here is your Syntax Weekly Health Round-Up.

In the House

  • Debate continued this week on Bill C-47, the Budget Implementation Act. Passage of the budget is needed for the federal government to follow through on key agenda items such as the $200-billion Canada Health Transfer and the full implementation of the Canada Dental Benefit. 

At Committee 

  • The Standing Committee on Health was the site of some theatrics this week, as Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos was summoned to testify on drug prices and the turmoil at the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. Immediately prior to the Minister’s appearance, NDP MP Don Davies held a press conference where he chided the Liberal government for its role in making it harder for Canadians to afford prescription medication. 

Around Cabinet   

  • With this being National Immunization Awareness Week, Minister Duclos took the opportunity to reflect on everything vaccination has done to improve our quality of health and life. Duclos noted the contribution vaccines are making to eliminate diseases such as measles and cervical cancer, and the important role they have played in the fight against COVID-19. Duclos noted that, as part of its National Immunization Strategy, Canada has made great progress toward its vaccination coverage goals and vaccine-preventable disease reduction targets, particularly among children and adolescents. Duclos also announced an investment of over $100 million to support the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to help accelerate the development of vaccines and reduce the vaccine development time to 100 days for a range of known and emerging infectious diseases, including those with pandemic potential. 

Around the Dominion 

  • Nova Scotia will soon open a first-of-its-kind clinic in Atlantic Canada to help reduce visits to emergency departments and walk-in clinics and decrease the length of hospital stays by people experiencing homelessness. A collaborative effort across the departments of Health and Wellness; Community Services; Labour, Skills and Immigration; and Seniors and Long-Term Care, the clinic will operate out of a building containing a shelter. There will also be an on-site support team – including a wellness co-ordinator, continuing-care co-ordinator, community outreach worker, and other healthcare professionals – to provide wraparound supports for residents and prepare them for independent living. 
  • PEI announced that all stand-alone community COVID-19 testing clinics will be closed by April 28, 2023. People who are at high risk and meet testing criteria developed by the Chief Public Health Office and the Provincial Lab will still be able to access a molecular test through their healthcare provider. For others, testing will move to home-based rapid tests. 
  • In New Brunswick, the Opposition Liberals swept three by-elections held on April 24, including a victory for leader Susan Holt, who will assume a seat in the legislature for the first time. 
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