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Looking for Solutions in Health Care for 2006 and Beyond

Our health care system needs to change to accommodate new demographics, new technologies and new pharmacologic advancement.

The roots of compassion and caring in health care should not change however, and it is with this in mind that the dialogue of change should be had surrounding health care.

How can we adapt to different needs that emerge as our population ages?

How can we  find sustainability in the midst of so many new advancements?

How can individuals become more empowered in serving their own health care needs?

What role does the individual have in enabling the  health care of others  beyond paying taxes?

Many questions like these need to be answered and if we are willing to look with open minds at the problems within our health care system, and beyond political posturing, then we can find new  solutions to take us further into this century. 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday
Apr012014

Courageous People Changing Health Care

While union backed protesters decry the end of the Health Council of Canada and complain that the federal health transfers are not sufficient to provide the provinces with what they need to fulfill their political promises, other people are working hard to create more sustainable change.

I'm not talking about the individuals who are entrenched in more bureaucratic and systemic convolutions that add to the cost of care by creating expensive and more complex coordination such as Family Health Teams and Health Links.  I'm talking about people like Dr. Robert Bell of the University Health Network in Toronto and Dr. Brian Day of the Cambie Surgical Centre in Vancouver.

Dr. Bell has  recently been appointed as Deputy Health Minister in Ontario and is leaving a hospital network that encourages medical tourism, allowing patients from other countries to be treated at UHN by paying for their own care. This makes a lot of sense. Currently there are unemployed and underemployed specialists to the tune of approximately 16% of all new graduates. There are operating rooms that must close for weeks at a time to allow hospitals to balance their budgets to meet provincial accountability agreements and hundreds of thousands of patients across Canada waiting in queues.

The revenue generated by having out of country patients pay for procedures and care at the UHN allows hospitals to spend resources on patients who are not paying. This has a certain symbiosis that could be a win/win/win, for out of country patients, for Canadian patients and for employment at many levels for Canadians. Despite this, various groups are already lining up to request that this service be stopped. Not only should it NOT be stopped, I believe it should be made available to Canadians as well so that both health human resources and infrastructure can be used maximally as well as creating a source of revenue for hospitals and even for government, not to mention the primary goal of allowing more patients to get the care they need.

Dr. Brian Day is another health care expert who is courageous in his attempts to advocate for vulnerable patients forced to wait in Canada's failing single payer system. He is bringing a legal challenge to the laws that prohibit individuals from paying for medically necessary care. You can find more information at the following site:

  Charter Health

 As our aging population requires more services and more care and with relatively fewer workers to provide the tax base in the future, we need to be open minded about how to allow more people to access more care in ways that are acceptable to them.

There are times when the unions and the media and the "entrenched" drown out reasonable voices on health care change. I hope that the voices of Dr. Bell and Dr. Day will be heard at many levels, and that change will occur to support sustainability of a Hybrid health care system that combines a robust public system with private options for medically necessary care.

It is challenging to stand out from the crowd to say and do what is necessary. Please support sustainable change where you can. Thank you.

 

Reader Comments (603)

Also worthy of note, Murray Martin:

http://www.thestar.com/life/health_wellness/2014/03/19/ontario_cant_afford_its_health_system_former_hospital_ceo_warns.html

"Ontario can no longer afford its health system and politicians must muster the courage to make tough and controversial decisions — like forcing more hospital mergers — to find savings, warns the just-retired president of a large provincial teaching hospital.

Because he has just stepped down from his high level position at Hamilton Health Sciences, Murray Martin is free to speak his mind about the dire straights Ontario’s health system is in. "
A good read: ' David and Goliath: underdogs, misfits and the art of battling giants' by Malcolm Gladwell.

" Giants are not what we think that they are. the same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of great weakness ".

George Bernard Shaw stated that " the reasonable man adapts himself to the world ( as most of us have done); the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man ".

The OMA has been overly " reasonable", to the detriment of the health care system...we need more " unreasonable" men and women to push this tottering house of cards down.
April 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndris
R:

A nice post. One can hope new troops can get central to change; sadly, there is a lot of desire to not change.
April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommentermovingforwardOntario
As General Motors is being scrutinized for its apparent decision to provide a less than optimized product and the consequences of that decision, can the same logic also be applied to those at central, who have made the decisions to provide in health, a less than optimized product? Is litigation the way we must resolve this? If so, can one not argue those at central are in conflict of interest, knowing they have produced legislation which, in general, protects them from litigation? Is that the issue, people acting in COI, making these decisions?
April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommentermovingforwardOntario
Central has run amok...(continued).

I read this morning that the Legislative Committee on Social Engineering (or something like that) is now demanding that shared service organizations like MedBuy and HealthPro be subject to audits by the Auditor General and publicly disclose employee salaries.

Why?

To fix the diluted chemotherapy drug issue of course. Silly of you to ask!

How either of these activities contribute to greater security of the drug manufacturing process is beyond me.

How about giving properly trained people the right time, space, supervision, instruction and support to do their jobs correctly?

Yes, it is absolutely tragic that 1,202 patients in Ontario and New Brunswick received diluted chemotherapy last spring. Arguably, we have no clue if it

a) happened before
b) is still happening
c) had an ultimate impact on the course patient care

And we can probably hire a boatload of consultants to spend a lot of time to review and debate the multifaceted components of these comments (and more).

But I fail to see how throwing a provincial auditor or an annual salary line entry at this issue will contribute to fixing the problem at hand. If I am not seeing it, someone tell me how.

Enlighten me.

Please.
April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterExecutive Lead Blogger
ELB

It is following the money.

"Rather, Medbuy gets a "rebate" — what Gelinas called a kickback — from the pharmacy based on how much is spent on their contracts. It "helps themselves to whatever they need," which is supposed to offset its operating expenses, and gives the rest to the hospital..."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/hamilton-s-marchese-health-care-cleared-in-chemo-drugs-scandal-1.2595274
April 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereklimek
ELB, it makes it look like the gov't has done something about the problem and it appeases the public because, as you know, government is showing accountability!

Of course, I'm kidding. I don't understand how disclosing the salaries of those companies will do anything to solve the problem...you got me.
Dr. K - thanks for the article.

Can someone explain to me the impact of the dilution problem. What is the clinical impact if the right amount of drug was given, but its concentration was "off" by 10%?

I think I understand that a specific concentration has to be attained to achieve a specific clinical outcome. But with ever changing treatment regimens and new antineoplastic agents being introduced at an incredible rate, what clinical evidence exists that a ±10% will have a large, small, or negligible impact?

I find that I am not getting the whole story from the mainstream media - just the hyperbole.
April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterExecutive Lead Blogger
ELB, let's see if OpPD can shine some light. OpPD?
I see that Jeffrey Simpson doesn't support more money dumps either but it's not realistic to think that providers' incomes can absorb all the additional expenses in health care for decade to come. Holding payments to providers down over the next twenty to thirty years isn't realistic.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/the-health-accord-was-a-fix-we-must-not-repeat/article17759451/#dashboard/follows/
ELB (bear in mind the source)

Trials of drugs infused intravenously go through stages to determine safety and toxicity of doses as well as therapeutic effectiveness of a specific dose in treating illness. Usually they are administered in a dose related to body size measured in body surface area (BSA). Diluting chemotherapy would be giving a smaller person's calculated therapeutic dose which determined in early clinical trial(s) that demonstrated effectiveness.

Most likely OPPD can give a more detailed account of the variability resulting in using BSA and the ongoing discussion in the oncology community of the shortcomings of BSA calculation.

"The oncology community is in general agreement that patients should be given an optimal dose that results in clinical benefit and that a reduction in “dose-intensity may compromise disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) in the curative setting.”

http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/30/31/3896.full

Hope this helps.
April 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereklimek
Dr. K.

Thank you very much....appreciate the time you took to explain.
April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterExecutive Lead Blogger
ELB
BSA is the standard used for dosing of chemotherapy..however, doses are decreased all the time due to toxicity, concomitant diseases etc.

The amount of dilution was small….about 10%. In most clinicians view, this would not change outcome in the majority of patients; it may only be significant if patients get chemo for 6 or more cycles. In addition, I believe that this dilution issues WAS identified by other hospital pharmacies previously and was deemed to be not clinically significant. It was a small community hospital who decided to call CCO.

So, it happened before, is still happens, and will continue to happen.

The bottom line is that the contractual elements between the GPOs and the vendor needs to be clarified and standardized. As I stated in the previous thread, the new Bill 117 does not do that. Publishing salaries is just a smokescreen.

Bill 117 changes some things but it does not alter what most people would agree is the most important thing. In his report, Dr. Thiessen pointed out that, It is clear that the contractual elements and specifications surrounding the agreement between the GPO—Medbuy Corp.—and vendor are pivotal to the underdosing incident.”
http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/house-proceedings/house_detail.do?Date=2014-03-06&Parl=40&Sess=2&locale=en#P45_2782

IMHO, those pharmacists at CCO and MedBuy should have known there may have been an issue changing from one vendor (supplying for 20years) to a new vendor. Unwritten rules/conventions would need to have been identified and managed.

They were not.
April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterOutpatientPharmD
Thanks OPPD - best explanation I have read yet!
April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterExecutive Lead Blogger
I am grateful the posters here! A wealth of knowledge...

Thanks eklimek and OpPD for the explanations-much appreciated.
Here goes the RNAO opposing ways to generate funding to treat
more Canadians along with McBane et al:

http://m.thestar.com/#!/life/toronto-hospitals-seek-more-medical-tourists/b979658ecb9f650815ceda23c9623fa7
April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMerrilee Fullerton
Are physicians becoming data entry clerks to satisfy gov 't agenda?

http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2014/04/physician-utilization-problem.html
April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMerrilee Fullerton
Yep, about right, certainly for hospital related encounters. By the time you arrived, found the chart, the patient, wrote a rough note, dictated a note, arranged for investigations or treatment (not as simple as writing it) and then calling to prioritize it or going to the rad, then communicated directly with nursing staff and the attending doctor, packed up and left for the office, ... 1 1/2 hours vapourized with more phone calls to come.

" .... 70-80% of the PCPs work output is direct waste: computer order entry, prescription processing, ... "
April 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereklimek
A MOHLTC Data entry clerk....being paper based I have not reached that level of humiliation as yet...and have no intention of becoming one.

Perhaps we should have two levels of pay...one as we practice as physicians, the other as government data clerks, with an hourly wage, benefits, vacation pay and pensions...with the ability to be represented by public service unions.

As for the government fuss over 10% dilution...the government seems to be quite content to have generic companies delivering products containing 90% of the content of the original medication.
April 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndris
R

All of us are becoming data entry points for central. It is the way of the new world. More to come.

The days of physicians being independent, free standing agents, for the patient are gone. Physicians are agents of central, delivering centrally approved services.
April 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommentermovingforwardOntario
What's the real story here? I have patients who leave the country for care they need. Now we will use resources to provide care to others for profit? We have fallen down the rabbit hole.



“It’s absolutely not on for Ontarians to move to the front of the line,” she told me. “I spend every minute of every day protecting universal health care.”

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/04/03/why_ontarios_medical_tourism_threatens_medicare_walkom.html


"Medicare is based on the notion that access is determined by need rather than wealth, that the sickest are treated first.

Medical tourism turns this principle on its head. Access goes to those willing to pay.

And if rich foreigners are allowed first-class treatment by paying out of pocket, why can’t well-to-do Ontarians receive the same privilege?"
April 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereklimek
DrK

Central actually encourages hospitals to sell their services to gain revenue. This is not a new activity, the Minister is being somewhat disingenuous here. This is an encouraged activity to provide revenue.
April 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommentermovingforwardOntario
mfo

The Ministry encourages medical tourism as a "profit" centre in the publicly established institution. The same is underfunded with a waiting list.

If this were another government service or a private enterprise closed to neighbourhood resident's firing up it's ovens for nonresidents, would this be discriminatory?
April 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereklimek
DrK

we all appreciate the hypocrisy of this. Money can buy services, except for Ontarians, because our medically needed services can only be paid for by central.

We live with it.
April 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommentermovingforwardOntario
DrK

It is even more wacky because remember central gives out licenses that permit medical services to be allowed on Ontario residents to Ontario hospitals. BecAuse of the restricted licenses only the hospitals can compete in selling their services to non Ontarians.
April 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommentermovingforwardOntario
Well good luck to the doctors involved. Here is the CMPA (medical malpractice insurer) perspective

"The Association will not consider exercising its discretion to extend assistance when a member has, directly or indirectly:

a. solicited the treatment of a non-resident patient;
b. actively undertaken or offered to undertake the treatment of a non-resident patient; or
c. encouraged the creation of a doctor-patient relationship with a non-resident patient.

https://oplfrpd5.cmpa-acpm.ca/-/treating-non-residents-of-canada

Frankly, I do not want our malpractice premiums affected by out of country services rendered to nonresidents in Ontario hospital VIP wards. (Unless it be Pope Francis at St Mike's.)
April 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereklimek
DrK

Since likely the contracts would be with the hospitals, it is more likely that the lawsuits would be covered by the hospitals insurance plan, which is covered by your taxes. As for the health care employees involved, again their costs are covered by the hospitals. One suspects the physicians involved are under contract.

Most interesting would any trainees in the mix. They maybe a little more exposed.
April 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommentermovingforwardOntario
mfo

Respectfully, I look forward to a hospital warranting or insuring a doctor for an untoward outcome of a clinical encounter or service provided within the confines.

The entire risk assessment activity strategy is toward limiting institutional liability to the immediate consequences of the ER sign falling from the roof.

In the statement of claim every the hospital typically cross claims
that the doctor upon knowing the hospital could not provide the care was responsible for the transfer of the patient to a facility with the capacity.
April 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereklimek
DrK

You of course are correct, but circumstances are likely different in situations like these. What's being encouraged is to find a way around the system. If the institution is providing the service, and an employee is providing, and the usual insurer states such actions aren't covered, the employer picks up the cost. Now they very well may insist that other coverage must be in place from a different carrier. That would be an interesting policy, and one would anticipate the fee needed to acquire coverage would be well above any revenue received by the physician.
April 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommentermovingforwardOntario
If Ontario is actively and aggressively soliciting for medical services to new revenue sources, and there is an adverse event, who is the insurer who pays?
Surely, it wouldn't be the hospital normal insurer (HIROC), in that they are paid for off public resources. Surely it couldn't be that in the event of an adverse act, the tax payers of Ontario would pay the settlement, for a service they were forbidden to purchased?

That would be ironic.
April 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommentermovingforwardOntario
"who is the insurer who pays?
Surely, it wouldn't be the hospital normal insurer (HIROC), in that they are paid for off public resources. Surely it couldn't be that in the event of an adverse act, the tax payers of Ontario would pay the settlement, for a service they were forbidden to purchased?

That would be ironic. "-mfO

I believe in one of the articles on this subject, it was reported that the UHN had been successfully in putting insurance in place...

Hmmmm....I wonder "who" it is.
It is intriguing. Ontario hospitals putting in place a US based compensation system, for patients flying outside the Ontario system, denied to Ontario citizens, yet present in Ontario.

We humans are amazing as to moral and ethical contortions we acquiesce to. You can buy health care in Ontario, as long as you are not an Ontarians?

One just has to laugh.

Just don't get near the margins. The system will eat you up.
April 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommentermovingforwardOntario
Re the chemotherapy scandal:
Medbuy had a whole stable of licensed pharmacists who oversaw the contract process, but failed to notice the contract’s lack of clarity, the report said.

The document also raised concerns about the financial practices of group purchasing organizations like Medbuy, saying it was unable to follow the public money that went to the company.

Rather, Medbuy gets a “rebate”—what Gelinas called a kickback—from the pharmacy based on how much is spent on their contracts. It “helps themselves to whatever they need,” which is supposed to offset its operating expenses, and gives the rest to the hospital.

The report revealed that Marchese’s offer—which was substantially lower than the more experienced company that had previously held the contract—included a $20,000 donation to a Medbuy fund for “healthcare industry initiatives.”
http://www.canadianhealthcarenetwork.ca/pharmacists/news/drug-news/ontario-committee-report-on-diluted-chemotherapy-drugs-places-blame-with-medbuy-25443?utm_source=EmailMarketing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Pharmacy_Newsletter

Is it Ornge all over again??? Do private companies need to pay bribes? Are generic and brand name companies similarly "shaked down"?

I maintain that the ODB and CCO will have as many or more scandals yet to be uncovered.
April 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterOutpatient PharmD
OpPD

Is MedBuy a consortium put together by various hospitals or does it have some other foundation?
" You can buy health care in Ontario, as long as you are not an Ontarians?

One just has to laugh._-mfO

or cry as the case may be...

How is it that the idiocy of this is not plain for all to see?
How is it that the idiocy of this is not plain for all to see? Realist

The masses are kept distracted and in the dark with high personal debt, alcohol, gaming, and soon to be legal pot and porn.

The disconnect is only going to get worse with the slow economic growth in Ontario and rising provincial debt over the next decade. The population will need access to additional vices to deal with the vicissitudes of life in a failed province.
April 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCanary in a Coal Mine
http://oaccac.com/Quality/Documents1/2012-2013-CCAC-Quality-Report-EN.pdf

Anyone else as equally unimpressed with this report?

■ It is one-year late (didn't we just complete 2013-14)

■ It is at such a high provincial level that any negative effects of inadequate care or care denied at the margins are easily sanded off.

Central funding to the CCACs through the LHINs has been at double and triple the incremental rate provided to other health service providers.

I think we deserve additional granularity.
April 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterExecutive Lead Blogger
Do the lower readmission rates coincide with more people dying at home? and is that a good thing or a bad thing? What does it really mean?

Of course, now that many more seniors (and others) will not be able to afford their hydro bills, will they be able to stay at home? Will they freeze at home as well as age at home? And when they freeze at home, do they die at home? Not really tongue in cheek...just wondering what the Liberals expect people to do.

I'm just thinking back to all of George Smitherman's endeavours: : ORNGE, eHealth, Green Energy Act, Primary Care Reform...are we better off or worse off than before?
I'm not sure if this article is gated but it's on Smart Simplicity. It seems relevant to health care. I read that CMA Pres Dr Francescutti believes there are no simple solutions to complex problems. I tend to disagree. We need more simplicity and less government driven "solutions".
The complexity in health care is already making whatever system we have very brittle and non responsive.

Government needs to move aside, just a little, and let people do what they can do.

http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/04/stop-trying-to-control-people-or-make-them-happy/
Dr F

Medbuy is a consortium of members/associates from virtually every hospital and health region in Ontario as well as New Brunswick and PEI.
http://www.medbuy.ca/publicen/membersontario.aspx

MedBuy does all the procurement for drugs, supplies, and equipment for Ontario hospitals.
April 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterOutpatient PharmD
. "A court this week even struck down a legal challenge that argued the government’s monopoly over health care imposes suffering and sometimes death on patients on waiting lists."

What? Where??
R

Give it up.een decide

Central control on your health is more critical in the decision-making process than you.

50% of central resources are spent on non restorative care for disease that has been present since birth, and does not respond to medical or social care. They are chronic biological defects consuming resources

80% of resources go to salary support, of those, only 50% go to front line care providers.

Single payer top down central management is a religion
Popular in north Korea and Canada. It is not pulsar in other countries which practise less extreme forms of religious healthcare. There are always e extremists.
April 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommentermovingforwardOntario
There is more than enough evidence to state that the greater the status, power and pay of individuals the less they are able to relate to the problems of others. To translate this into a blog contribution relevant to seeking change in the health care system benefiting the health of patients, why do we expect the current structure to work toward this goal?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/which-public-servants-earn-more-than-100000-search-the-sunshine-list/article17699726/

A focus on the frontlines and patient illness is unlikely in a structure that is remote, laking empathy and immensely self entitled. It appears the pyramid constructed is feeding itself first and demonstrating selfcongratulatory achievements remote from considrration of others. That is the behaviour of upper class humans.

So, taking the next step, if empathy is inversely proportional to money and status, why do we build large organizations with generous salaries for overseers that serve only to attract those least likely to share the intended goal?

At the care giver level, this also finds traction, doesn't it? The most desparately ill and needy in the world find help from impoverished health care providers or those motovated by missionary zeal. For ontario doctors, who are currently negotiating with government, Which are highest or lowest billing groups in the province?

If the observations on human behaviour are correct doctors economic status should be telling. Those who are empathetically connected and directly face to face with patients compared to those remote from patient interaction except for procedures should be predictable.

The studies suggest in games that are rigged by the examiner to trst human interaction, the "winners" consistently over attribute their status to their perceived superior skill, the behaviour dispelled becomes more dominating and expressions of selfentitlement outweigh more realistic self evaluation.

Damn, people are so good at lying to themselves in front of a mirror.

End, Sunday morning reflections.
April 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereklimek
DrK

We are human and will preen and cackle to our hearts content to point out how beautiful we are, and why we need to remain beautiful, at the expense of others.
April 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommentermovingforwardOntario
https://soundcloud.com/ted-woloshyn/stephen-skyvington-april-5


http://www.thewhig.com/2014/04/04/when-know-it-all-politicians-know-nothing-at-all



OPINION COLUMN

OPINIONS AND OBSERVATIONS
When know-it-all politicians know nothing at all

By Stephen Skyvington

Friday, April 4, 2014 2:59:53 EDT PM
Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews (QMI Agency)

Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews (QMI Agency)




Having worked at Queen’s Park once upon a time, I understand only too well that there’s a huge amount of paperwork the average member of provincial parliament has to dig through just to keep on top of issues and current events. To say nothing of what a minister of the crown must digest every day in order prepare for the daily grind of question period and media scrums.

Unfortunately, there are times when our elected officials make mistakes, misinterpret data, or even deliberately mislead the public by misrepresenting the facts in order to score cheap political points.

Take, for instance, the recent controversy over Canadian Plasma Resources.

Health Minister Deb Matthews has climbed up on her high horse in order to portray herself as the defender of our Canadian blood services system, bringing forth a piece of legislation — Bill 178, The Voluntary Blood Donations Act, 2014 — designed to ban pay-for-plasma, and in the process, effectively putting one company — Canadian Plasma Resources — out of business, after they invested more than $7 million in three Ontario clinics, in hopes of creating 150 highly paid, skilled jobs.

Not surprisingly, the minister has enlisted the help of not one, but two, medical ethicists — Margaret Somerville, the founding director of the McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, and Lisa Schwartz, a healthcare ethicist from McMaster University — as a way of convincing the public that she’s right to take this stance.

“You have to look at what value is upheld by the fact we give our blood,” Ms. Somerville said. “That is the value of altruism. When you make that an economic relationship, you corrupt that value. It takes away from the value of the gift, even if some people continue to give their blood.”

“You worry about going down that slippery slope towards the sale of organs and the sale of embryos,” Ms. Schwartz said. “We need to keep a tight rein on this.”

“You’ve got this further worry about the exploitation of poor people, who don’t have any other options and who are desperate for money,” Ms. Somerville added.

Well, I’m here to tell you that this is all just so much BS, and has nothing to do with what the folks at Canadian Plasma Resources are trying to do.

As Dr. Barzin Bahardoust, the company’s chief executive officer, pointed out: “Ontario’s need for life-saving drugs made from human plasma far exceeds our ability to produce it. That’s why Ontario’s health-care system purchases hundreds of millions of dollars of these products from American companies that compensate plasma donors. No country in the world is self-sufficient in the production of these products from a solely voluntary donor base. This is not about collecting blood or plasma for transfusion, but rather plasma that will be manufactured into critical pharmaceutical products for patients with life-threatening diseases.”

Matthews’ hypocrisy on this one is especially galling. While she is quick to take a position that paying people for their time so they can donate their plasma somehow takes advantage of the disadvantaged in Ontario, she apparently has no problem with exploiting the poor in the United States in order to ensure there’ll be enough plasma to meet Canada’s needs.

Even the Canadian Hemophilia Society agrees with Canadian Plasma Resources that the minister of health is just plain wrong to ban pay-for-plasma, issuing a statement that said in part: “The decision by the Government of Ontario not to allow these centres to open is a reaction to public opinion, not a decision based on science or ethics. Over the last 20 years, the plasma industry has developed well-documented and effective procedures to ensure that plasma can be collected safely, both for donors and the recipients.”

Canadian Plasma Resources is not out to exploit the poor, or put our blood supply at risk. They want to bring innovation and jobs to Ontario — something our province is in short supply of, thanks to the McWynnety Liberals’ 11-year reign of error. Far from being a threat to the people of Ontario, Canadian Plasma Resources is trying to do something truly heroic — if only these bonehead politicians would just get out of the way.

How do I know all this? Because, unlike Deb Matthews, I actually went to the trouble of meeting with Dr. Bahardoust at one of his clinics in downtown Toronto last week in order to find out for myself what was fact and what was fiction when it comes to paying for plasma.

Here’s what I discovered ...

Fact: Currently, only three of the roughly 30 plasma-derived therapies used by Canadians are manufactured, in part, from plasma collected from unpaid donors by Canadian Blood Services and Hema-Quebec. The rest all come from paid U.S. donors.

Fact: Because Canada requires 1,100,000 litres of plasma per annum to meet the demand in this country, the only way to ensure sufficient access to that supply is through giving incentives to donors in order to encourage repeat donations.

Fact: If allowed to institute its pay-for-plasma system, Canadian Plasma Resources says that, by 2020, it will produce as much as 400,000 litres of plasma per annum, which would increase the level of Canadian self-sufficiency to nearly half of what’s needed.

Fact: Canadian Plasma Resources plans to invest a further $300 million and build Canada’s first plasma refractory — should their Ontario plasma collection clinics prove to be successful — which would create another 3,000 jobs and would go a long way to securing our country’s plasma supply.

These are the facts.

And yet, in spite of all this, the health minister is still hell-bent on ramming this legislation through as quickly as possible. Fortunately, thanks to the intervention of the Progressive Conservative Party, Bill 178 is headed to a legislative committee for further study, following second reading.

While they could just fold up their tent and go somewhere more friendly — Manitoba, for instance, where pay-for-plasma is perfectly legal — Dr. Bahardoust and Canadian Plasma Resources plan to stay and fight the good fight.

My prediction? “There will be blood — or, at least, plasma — before all this is over.”

Stephen Skyvington is the president of PoliTrain Inc. He can be heard every Saturday at 1 p.m. on CFRB Newstalk Radio 1010. Follow him on Twitter @SSkyvington.
April 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Skyvington
As one can see...the " ethicists" advising the Minister are Kantians promoting altruism ( a tricky word) giving without any expectation of reward...any reward or benefit being regarded as being immoral.

In ethics , " value" is another tricky word ...it is what we do in order to gain and keep..of " value" to whom and for what? Goals and values...they vary according to one's philosophical thrust.

" What value is being upheld by the fact that we give our blood? This is the value of altruism. When you make it an economic relationship, you corrupt the value, it takes away from value of the gift, even if some people continue to give their blood".

" It is a slippery slope...we need to keep a tight rein on this"...then they throw in catch phrases....." Exploitation of poor people"...to catch the politically correct statist politicians that they advise who swallow their near incomprehensible ivory towered gobbledygook hook line and sinker.
April 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndris

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