Op-Eds

Paper health care records have been a danger to both patients and providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have been able to get my 85-year old mother’s banking and bills online to keep things up to date. I could even do her taxes and basic government functions online. I should have been able to help manage her health care information too. But I couldn’t. 

This story of failure became clear to me as our team interviewed over a hundred people for my June 2021 report for Health Canada, The State of Virtual Care in Canada as of Wave Three of the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Early Diagnostique and Policy Recommendations. Two key deficits in our health-care system became evident when social distancing necessitated virtual care nearly…

In 2021, nothing was different, but everything changed. The COVID-19 pandemic dragged on. The Omicron variant caused a surge in cases, accompanied by now-familiar restrictions and guidance to limit travel, protect seniors and work from home. The same could have been said this week last year, substituting Delta for Omicron. This time, though, there is not the same hope that vaccination will end the pandemic and begin a new normal, whatever new normal might be.

Lots happened in the past year. Vaccines were approved in late 2020, and mass vaccination gave Canada one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. Proof-of-vaccination certificates were developed and deployed to balance risks to public health against regaining at…

New Brunswick hospitals are on "red alert," reducing or suspending services to increase capacity for COVID-19 patients as the fourth wave continues. There are 57 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 and 18 in intensive care, at the time of writing – a number that will continue to fluctuate in the days and weeks to come.

New Brunswickers might reasonably ask if the hospital system is truly threatened by fewer than 20 critical cases after 18 months of a global pandemic. Unfortunately, the province-wide red alert shows that it is.

Why and how is this possible? To this, there is no simple answer.

In less than a month, the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 has nearly doubled, and the number in ICU has increased…

Big changes are afoot in the way patent drugs are priced in Canada. At present, Canada’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB), a federal agency, is responsible for setting maximum prices for patented drugs (i.e., pharmaceuticals, biologics and vaccines). The agency has been criticized for failing to rein in prices, which are higher than in some peer countries. This criticism is unfair: the tools the PMPRB was given to regulate drug prices when it was established in 1987 have become less effective over time.

To address this problem, the federal government has authorized the PMPRB to introduce new pricing regulations, now scheduled to come into force in January. We think this is the wrong strategy. Instead of relying on…

Every day, more and more Canadians are getting vaccinated, and every day, there is more and more hope that normal daily life and activities might resume soon. To enable international travel and accelerate the return of such activities at home, many countries are considering or have implemented “immunity passports” of some kind to people who pose a lower risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 infection.

In Israel, where more than half of the population is fully vaccinated, “green pass” holders are either fully inoculated or have presumed immunity after recovering from infection. Iceland was the first country in Europe to issue “immunity passports” to those who have recovered from infection or been fully vaccinated to allow…