Weekly Top Stories: NDP pharmacare talks with Liberals; and $8.7 million investment in studying age-related cognitive impairment

Published on
February 5, 2024
Written by
Delphic Research
Read time
7 min

Another week, another round of the top stories that sparked the interest of our clients. This week, we had a story about how the New Democratic Party (NDP) urges immediate coverage of essential medicines in pharmacare talks with Liberals; and investments to help facilitate healthcare research.

In ongoing talks about developing a pharmacare system, the NDP has urged the Liberal government to begin covering specific life-saving drugs, including those for diabetes. A reliable NDP source disclosed that the Liberals have agreed to cover fewer than five drugs, and the coverage is expected to start soon. This request is part of the Liberal-NDP supply-and-confidence agreement, which aims to introduce pharmacare legislation and initiate drug coverage by 2025.

Simultaneously, the launch of a new federal dental benefits program has begun. However, a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives indicates that millions of uninsured Canadians won't qualify due to a household income cap of $90,000 per year. This program, a result of collaboration between the Liberal government and the NDP, targets uninsured families, prioritizing seniors, children under 18, and individuals with disabilities. Despite its positive intentions, the report emphasizes the exclusion of a significant number of Canadians due to the strict income threshold, raising concerns about potential limitations and disparities in the federal dental coverage initiative.

As we transition from the complexities of pharmacare negotiations and dental benefits programs, let us shift our focus to something fundamental – the healthcare experiences of older adults. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on January 23 reveals that adults aged 65 and above spend an average of three weeks annually on healthcare appointments. The study, based on Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey data from 2019, includes insights into the types of healthcare services, settings, and the challenges related to patient burden. Factors contributing to overuse and underuse of contact days highlight opportunities for optimizing person-centered care, potentially reducing patient burdens through improved care coordination.

Meanwhile, the Ontario government is investing $110 million to connect up to 328,000 people to primary care teams, aiming to improve accessibility across the province. This includes $90 million for over 400 new primary care providers within 78 interprofessional teams, aligning with the government's commitment to timely access to comprehensive care.

Additionally, Ottawa's proposed nurse practitioner clinic, aiming to provide primary care to vulnerable residents with mental health and addiction issues, has secured $2.5million in funding from the Ontario government. This funding is part of a broader $110 million investment to establish 53 new primary-care teams and expand 25 others across the province. The initiative aims to address the growing primary-care gap, with Ontario facing challenges in access to family doctors and the impending retirement of healthcare professionals.

Now that the spotlight is on the challenges faced by seniors in healthcare, this is a promising initiative by the federal government in partnership with the Azrieli Foundation and its Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence, is dedicating $8.7 million to support 13 research teams focused on age-related cognitive impairment and dementia. With nearly 500,000 Canadians age 65 and older suffering from dementia, the funding aims to advance strategies for prevention, find new treatments, and enhance patient outcomes.

This initiative, introduced during Alzheimer's Awareness Month, encompasses research on risk reduction, caregiver health, infection impacts, and Indigenous health. The grants will also facilitate the training and mentorship of the next generation of dementia researchers in Canada. The investment aligns with the National Dementia Strategy's goals, emphasizing the commitment to understanding, preventing, and treating dementia to enhance the quality of life for those affected and their caregivers.

In other news relating to improving healthcare, the B.C. government is directing $32 million towards enhancing nuclear medicine, anticipating a nearly 50% increase in cancer diagnoses over the next decade. Health Minister Adrian Dix revealed funding for a $21-million cyclotron and radiopharmacy laboratory in Vancouver, designed to boost the production of essential radioactive isotopes for PET and CT scans, addressing a global shortage.

This investment, a part of B.C.'s 10-year cancer-care plan, aims to ensure timely access to care, address treatment capacity shortfalls, and meet the rising demand for cancer-care services. An additional $11 million will support nuclear medicine research at the Triumf facility, further establishing the province's role in Canada's nuclear medicine research ecosystem.

Want to have a taste of how our full-spectrum monitoring captures stories that interest you? ContactDelphic Research today and book a free consultation!

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