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Canada vows to ‘protect’ drug supplies after Trump proposes importing medication – Global News

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The Canadian government says it will work to protect drug supplies in Canada after the Trump administration announced Wednesday that it would seek to allow states to import prescription medication from north of the border.

Opening up imports for states is something U.S. President Donald Trump has long boasted as a means of lowering U.S. drug prices.

In a statement to Global News, Health Canada spokesperson Alexander Cohen said: “Our government will protect our supply of and access to medication that Canadians rely on.”


READ MORE:
‘Solve the problem at home’ — U.S. plan to import cheaper drugs from Canada draws criticism

The statement added that the Canadian government will “continue to be in communication with the White House” and the message remains “firm.”

“We share the goal of ensuring people can get and afford the medication they need – but these measures will not have any significant impact on prices or access for Americans. We remain focused on ensuring Canadians have access to the medication they need.”

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The pathways for importation were first announced by the U.S. government in July. Health officials in Washington on Wednesday unveiled a proposed regulation that would allow states to import many brand name drugs from Canada, with federal oversight. A second draft plan would let pharmaceutical companies seek approval to import their own drugs, from any country.






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More Edmonton pharmacists speak out about ongoing drug shortages


More Edmonton pharmacists speak out about ongoing drug shortages

Medicines cost less in Canada, and other advanced countries, because the governments take an active role in setting prices. Higher costs are often reported as the reason why some U.S. residents to travel to Canada to buy medication. The FDA permits U.S. residents to bring medication for personal use across the border but not more than a three-month supply.

Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, called the importation move “a historic step forward in efforts to bring down drug prices and out-of-pocket costs.”

However, there have been concerns in Canada that such a move could harm drug supplies.


READ MORE:
Drug shortages in Canada — Why they happen and what you can do about it

The Canadian Pharmacists Association has been among those raising alarms and calling on the government to take action.

“With an average of five new drug shortages reported each day in Canada, we are not in a position to supply a country 10 times our size and these proposals could restrict the availability of medications for our patients,” a statement from the organization provided to Global News read.

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The organization pushed the Canadian government to “clearly express its opposition” to U.S. drug importations and create an action plan.

The pharmacists’ association isn’t alone in its concern. Earlier this year, 15 groups representing patients, health professionals, hospitals, and pharmacists warned the federal government of the potential for increasing drug shortages in a letter.






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Trump administration to clear way to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada


Trump administration to clear way to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada

“The Canadian medicine supply is not sufficient to support both Canadian and U.S. consumers,” the letter read. “The supply simply does not, and will not, exist within Canada to meet such demands.”

On the Drug Shortages Canada database, there are currently 9,012 shortage reports. Twenty-three per cent of those shortages, or 2,048, are current issues. One per cent of the reports, a total of 53, are anticipated shortages. The remainder have either been avoided or resolved.

— With files from Reuters, The Associated Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Trump says Canada wants to reopen the border. But do we, really? – CBC.ca

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U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments on Friday suggesting Canada is keen to reopen the border with his country stand in direct contrast to statements made by Canadian officials supporting the continued border restrictions. 

“We’re looking at the border with Canada. Canada would like it open, and, you know, we want to get back to normal business,” Trump said at the White House, adding that “we’re going to be opening the borders pretty soon” to take advantage of the renegotiated NAFTA. 

“We’re working with Canada. We want to pick a good date, having to do with the pandemic. And I happen to think we’re rounding the turn,” Trump said. 

Asked by CBC News to respond, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office pointed to a tweet from Public Safety Minister Bill Blair earlier in the day, saying the border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least Oct. 21. 

“We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe,” Blair wrote.

WATCH | Trump suggests U.S-Canada border could reopen soon:

U.S. President Donald Trump responded to a question about the border as he left the White House on Friday. 0:48

When CBC first reported on the extension of restrictions into October — they were due to expire this week — one source said Canadians should prepare for them to last even longer. 

The official stopped short, however, of saying they would remain until Christmas, but that the policy was open to tweaks. 

Three senior sources with direct knowledge of the situation, speaking to CBC News on condition they not be named, have repeatedly expressed — over recent months and again on Friday — how pleased they are with the current restrictions. 

One source said both Canada and the U.S. see them as effective and as strong, co-operative measures necessary to respond to the pandemic.

Keeping Canadians safe

Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., said last week that she speaks with U.S officials about the border restrictions on a weekly basis and there is a general agreement the current situation is working well. 

“The measures are doing what they were designed to do … to allow the flow of commercial goods and essential services while controlling the spread of the virus and reduce the risk to our citizens on both sides,” Hillman said.

“When push comes to shove, our No. 1 goal is going to be to keep Canadians safe.”  

Blair told reporters Wednesday that he’s looking to make adjustments to allow more travel on humanitarian grounds, but that any changes will be limited and that, broadly, he wants to keep the restrictions. 

90% support 

With COVID-19 caseloads still high in many U.S. states, public opinion surveys have also suggested there’s little appetite in Canada for change.

A new poll by Research Co. found earlier this month that out of 1,000 Canadians surveyed online at the end of August, 90 per cent agreed with the current restrictions.

The world’s longest international border has been closed to non-essential travel for months though essential workers — such as truck drivers and health-care professionals — are still able to cross by land. Canadians are also still able to fly to U.S. destinations.

Ottawa has also moved to curb the movement of Americans through Canada on their way to Alaska. U.S. travellers destined for the northern state have been limited to five crossings in Western Canada and they must commit to taking a direct route.

In June, a man travelling from Alaska to the continental United States was charged with violating Canada’s Quarantine Act. He was accused of twice failing to follow COVID-19 public safety rules while in Banff, Alta.

If he’s found to have violated a quarantine order, he could be fined up to $750,000 or sentenced to six months in jail.

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75% of Canadians approve of another coronavirus shutdown if second wave hits: Ipsos – Global News

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Canadians would largely be supportive of another widespread shutdown if a second wave of the coronavirus occurred, new polling from Ipsos suggests.

In a survey conducted on behalf of Global News, Ipsos found that 75 per cent of respondents would approve of quickly shutting down non-essential businesses in that scenario, with 37 per cent strongly supporting the idea.

Read more:
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About three quarters said they anticipated a second wave to hit their communities this fall.

The polling comes as Canada sees a dramatic resurgence in the virus, along with long lines for testing in some cities. In the last two weeks, the number of cases being reported across the country each day has risen by nearly 50 per cent.

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Coronavirus: Patty Hajdu says she won’t rule out another economic shutdown if COVID-19 cases continue to rise


Coronavirus: Patty Hajdu says she won’t rule out another economic shutdown if COVID-19 cases continue to rise

In her most recent update, Canada’s chief public health officer said the uptick was cause for concern.

“With continued circulation of the virus, the situation could change quickly and we could lose the ability to keep COVID-19 cases at manageable levels,” Dr. Theresa Tam said in a statement.

Ipsos Public Affairs CEO Darrell Bricker said as case counts rise, support for lockdown measures similar to what we saw when the pandemic broke out in the spring will likely increase.

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“People are really watching on a daily basis … (the) number of case counts going up, and they’re really worried,” he said.

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The support shown for shutdown measures in Canada is in line with an international trend, Bricker said. Ipsos polling shows people in many countries are generally on board with the unprecedented measures taken to combat the spread of COVID-19, though Canadians tend to show stronger approval.

“There is, generally speaking, a fairly consistent view that we need to be careful, that this is a real problem, that they believe that shutdowns and controls are a way of dealing with it,” he said.

There were, however, some differences across the country when it comes to how well Canadians think their governments are prepared for a potential second wave.

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Nationally, 71 per cent said they’re confident their province is ready, with 29 per cent disagreeing. But the proportion of those critical of their province’s ability to handle another wave of the virus was highest in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, at 42 per cent.

Read more:
Time to stock up again? The likelihood of empty shelves in a second coronavirus wave

Just under two thirds of Canadians are concerned about contracting the virus themselves. Even though those who are older are most at risk, the bigger difference was between genders, the polling revealed. Seventy-two per cent of women said they were concerned versus 55 per cent of men.

Bricker said that result is part of a larger pattern shown in health polling data more generally.

“They tend to pay less attention to their health,” he said of men. “They tend to be less concerned about things that are risky.”

The poll also looked at the issue of mandatory vaccination in the event a vaccine is developed and approved. Almost two thirds, or 63 per cent of those asked, said they thought the vaccine should be mandatory, a figure that is down nine points since July.

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The survey was conducted between Sept. 11 and 14 — after the start of the school year for most Canadian families. There have already been outbreaks reported at schools in a few provinces.

Thirty-eight per cent of respondents said they felt schools were opening up too quickly, while about half — 53 per cent — said the speed of reopening has been just right.

This Ipsos poll was conducted between Sept. 11 and 14, 2020, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada adds nearly 1,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday, highest daily increase since May 25 – Global News

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Canada added 997 new cases of the novel coronavirus over the past 24 hours, though the national case count increased by another 40 cases that were delayed in reporting.

The new cases bring the country’s total COVID-19 diagnoses to 141,789, while five new deaths linked to the virus bring the death toll to 9,205. A total of 123,715 patients have recovered from the coronavirus, while more than 7.6 million tests have been administered.

Read more:
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Friday’s increase stands as the highest uptick since May 25, which saw 1,010 new infections across Canada.

Daily reported cases of the virus continue to follow a sharp increase across Canada, with the new infections averaging at 849 new cases a day over the past week, according to Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam.

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In a press conference Friday, Tam said that it was too soon to tell if Canadians were witnessing a long-warned second wave of the virus despite the sharp increase in cases.

“This situation increases the likelihood that we could lose the ability to keep COVID-19 cases at manageable levels,” said Tam. “Now is the time for Canadians to redouble their efforts with personal precautions that will slow the spread of the virus.”

On Friday, president of the Public Health Agency of Canada Tina Namiesniowski also resigned amid the country’s growing case levels.

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In a letter to staff released by the agency, Namiesniowski said that she wanted to take a break from her role and “step aside so someone else can step up” to co-ordinate Canada’s COVID-19 response.

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Emergency protocols in place if coronavirus forces schools to close: Quebec education minister


Emergency protocols in place if coronavirus forces schools to close: Quebec education minister

Ontario announced the highest increase in cases on Friday, with 401 new infections and no new deaths.

The new cases bring the province’s total case count to 46,077 while its death toll stands at 2,825.

Quebec added 297 cases of the virus, bringing its provincial total to 66,653. One new death was also recorded by the province, but health authorities say it had occurred at an unknown date.

Read more:
Canada is not in a second wave, but coronavirus cases increasing sharply: Tam

The province’s death toll stands at 5,792 — the highest in Canada — while over 52,000 patients have recovered from the virus.

British Columbia added 179 new cases of the virus on Friday, though seven of those cases are considered “epidemiologically linked,” which refers to patients that are related to confirmed cases and show symptoms of the virus, but have not been formally tested.

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Forty of the cases announced on Friday were also considered historical however, dating back to early August.

The cases bring British Columbia’s total lab-confirmed cases to 7,720, while the province’s death toll has been increased to 223 after three new deaths were reported.

Alberta reported 107 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing its total lab-confirmed cases to 16,381. Health authorities also added one additional death in the province, raising its total number of fatalities to 255.

Saskatchewan added 19 new cases of the virus on Friday, raising its total case count to 1,776. Twenty-four people have succumbed to the virus in the province, while another 1,639 patients have recovered.

Manitoba reported 40 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and no new deaths, raising the province’s total infections to 1,540. The province’s cases are comprised of an unknown number of infections considered probable, however.

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Coronavirus: Trump says they’re looking at reopening Canada-U.S. border possibly by end of year


Coronavirus: Trump says they’re looking at reopening Canada-U.S. border possibly by end of year

Manitoba’s death toll stands at 16, while another 1,199 patients have recovered.

Newfoundland and Labrador also reported one new case of the virus on Friday — its first new case in six days. A total of 272 people have been infected with COVID-19 there since the pandemic first began, while three have since succumbed to the virus.

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia reported zero new cases of the virus on Friday during their daily updates.

Read more:
Trump claims Canada wants to open border with U.S. as closure extended to Oct. 21

An extension of U.S.-Canada border closure, a deal which was set to expire Sept. 21, was also announced on Friday. The agreement will now extend the border closure to at least Oct. 21 — a closure that was first implemented to curb the spread of the virus.

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Cases of the virus have now surpassed over 30.3 million worldwide, according to a running tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. A total of 949,486 people have also died, with the United States, Brazil and India continuing to lead in both cases and deaths.

With files from Global News’ Katie Dangerfield, Kalina LaFrambroise, Kerri Breen, Andrew Russell and The Canadian Press.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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