11 March 2010

Healthcare corner #10 - Pharmaceuticals and some more efficiency

more class.

got a couple more items on efficiency:

1. these are a few different numbers that can help give a picture of what you get out of a system compared to what you put in it (numbers are from 2001):

Health $ spent as % of GDP

Drs per 1,000 population

Dr visits per patient

MRI scanners per million
















2. also, the world health organization put out the "world health report 2000" which had the focus of wanting to assess the different health systems of the world. in overall attainment (which measured achievement in "good health," "system responsiveness," and "fair financial contribution"), canada ranked 7th in the world. in overall performance (efficiency), canada ranked 35th (italy was 3rd, france was 4th, the u.s. was 37th).

the last part of class was a guest lecture by a pharmacy school professor. of course he was there to inform us about the pharmaceutical side of canadian healthcare.

1. as you might recall, drugs are not covered under the Canada Health Act. so, the provinces are not required to cover them. however, every province does cover a portion of drugs for a portion of its population (for example, nova scotia has a seniors drug program that includes a select list of meds). also to keep in mind, if you are in the hospital for treatment of some kind (surgery or some other intervention) any medication you are given while undergoing that treatment is covered for free in the Canada Health Act.

2. since drugs are a major cost and a major part of healthcare, in 2004, the government signed the "national pharmaceutical strategy" health accord. it was a comprehensive approach to addressing problems related to affordability and safety of drugs. the plan had 9 specific action items...basically though, despite coming back to reassess every so often, almost none of the action items have been adequately addressed. however, it did serve as a good tool for individual provinces who wanted to make their own headway on those issues.

3. some stats about canadians and drug use:
- in 2007, half of all canadian adults were taking at least one prescription drug, while about 15% said they take 4 or more.

- the number of prescriptions filled each year has almost doubled in a 10-year period. in 1996, about 234 million prescriptions were filled compared to more than 422 million filled in 2006.

- in 2007, 6% of canadian adults said their families spent more than $1000 out-of-pocket in the past year on drugs.

- in 2006, total drug expenditures for the country were $25.3 billion with about 40% of that covered by the various provincial governments.

- a 2008 study from a busy vancouver hospital found that 12% of ER visits by adults were related to problems with medications.
4. there is a website called "MedEffect" available to canadians that offers drug safety information and the ability to report adverse reactions and side effects.

as a side note, not sure if people saw the news item that sarah palin has admitted to using the canada healthcare system. apparently in her childhood, her family chose to go over the alaska border into the yukon to receive care. hmmm.

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