Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario to Require Disclosure of Pharma Payments to Health Professionals

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario to Require Disclosure of Pharma Payments to Health Professionals

Article excerpt

Pharma payments to be disclosed in Ontario

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TORONTO - Wide-ranging legislation introduced Wednesday by the Ontario government will require public disclosure of payments that pharmaceutical companies make to doctors, increase inspections for splash pads, barber shops and nail shops, and license medical device operators who use X-ray machines, CT scanners, and MRIs.

The bill was introduced Wednesday afternoon by Health Minister Eric Hoskins, who said it will make province's health care system "more efficient and more transparent" for patients. If passed, the bill will modernize 10 pieces of legislation, the government said.

The bill would change existing rules for paramedics, who by law can only transport patients to hospital following a 911 call. The new rules, if passed, would allow paramedics to transport a patient to a non-hospital setting, like a mental health facility.

The legislation would change the safety inspection program for the province's long-term care homes with new enforcement tolls that would include higher fines.

Public health regulations around recreational water facilities like splash pads and wading pools and rules for personal service settings like barber shops and nail salons, will be clarified under the regulations and make enforcement easier, the government said.

The bill would also tighten up rules and enhance enforcement around community health facilities which operate medical radiation devices like X-rays, CT scanners and ultrasound machines. Ultrasound operators would also be more strictly regulated.

The most high profile piece of the act introduces mandatory reporting from pharmaceautical companies and medical device manufacturers make to health care professionals.

"It gives them tools and information that they can then use to make more informed decisions about their own health care, so I believe it's something Ontarians want and deserve," Hoskins said in an interview Tuesday.

"We are the first jurisdiction in Canada to undertake this, so I think that that leadership by Ontario is important on an issue that I think resonates with all Canadians."

The province consulted over the summer with patient groups, health-care providers and the pharmaceutical and medical device industries about payments such as speaking engagement fees, paid meals, and travel expenses.

The legislation would require disclosure of the payments and create an online, searchable database of that information.

Ten major pharmaceutical companies released data earlier this year showing they had paid nearly $50 million to Canadian health-care professionals and organizations last year.

Drug company GlaxoSmithKline -- one of those 10 companies -- is supportive of the legislation. …

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