MSP Member Update Vol. 8 No. 16
May 1st, 2009 

 

  1. Pharmacists’ Right to Vote on Changes to Regulations/ Update Regulation Development Process
  2. News Release: Pharmacare Changes Keep Program Affordable for More Manitobans: Oswald
  3. New Release: Bulletin #7 H1N1 Flu

 

  1. Letter from MSP President Mel Baxter

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May 1, 2009

Dear Member of the Manitoba Society of Pharmacists,

I am writing to provide you with an update on developments respecting the Regulation Development Process and to address correspondence you may have received yesterday from MPhA (dated April 28th, 2009), concerning pharmacists voting rights.

  1. Regulation Development Process:

    With the support of Manitoba Health, representatives of the Manitoba Society of Pharmacists (MSP) and MPhA have been meeting regularly since July, 2008 to work out a process to develop regulations which have significant support among Manitoba Pharmacists.  These meetings have enabled the parties to agree to a consultation process managed by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC). 

On April 7th, 2009, representatives of MSP, MPhA, and Manitoba Health participated in a full day retreat, which was facilitated by PwC, and focused on twelve of MSP’s thirteen position statements.  The representatives of MSP feel that progress was achieved at this retreat, and are committed to this renewed consultation process.

Yesterday, representatives of MSP, MPhA, and Manitoba Health, met with PwC to develop a Communications Plan which will provide for direct consultation with pharmacists and pharmacy stakeholders.  Goals of the Communication Plan include providing for open dialogue between stakeholders and Manitoba Pharmacists and ensuring feedback mechanisms exist to effectively manage communications.  As a MSP member you can be assured you will be updated on all significant developments respecting the renewed consultation process.

  1. Pharmacists Right to Vote on Changes to Regulations

MPhA Council has passed a motion which threatens Manitoba Pharmacists long standing legal right to vote on changes to regulations.  MSP understands the reasons MPhA is opposed to pharmacists retaining voting rights, but cannot  support their actions.  On March 7th, 2008, pharmacists demonstrated the importance of maintaining their legal right to vote when 66% of voting pharmacists rejected MPhA’s draft regulations.

Had pharmacists not had the legal right to vote on regulation changes, the December, 2007 Draft Regulations, with the support of only 34% of voting pharmacists, would have been forwarded to the Manitoba Government and would very likely now be law. 

The Minister of Health to date has specifically decided to maintain Manitoba pharmacists’ legal right to vote, as reflected in the Regulated Health Professions Act, which was introduced in the Legislative Assembly on April 16, 2009.  MPhA’s April 28th, 2009 letter to you, confirms that the MPhA Council wants the Minister of Health to change her mind, and has requested a meeting to achieve this goal.

The MSP has previously consulted the membership on the issue of voting on regulatory matters and based on the memberships response believes that pharmacists need to maintain their historical legal right to vote on regulation changes.  This position has been advanced to the Minister of Health.  The Society will remain actively engaged on this fundamental issue, and will continue to update members.

MSP and MPhA have previously committed to the renewed regulation development process, which is distinct from the issue of pharmacists’ voting rights.  MSP expects the renewed regulation development process to continue without interruption.

Your feedback to the matters raised in this letter or any other issue is welcomed. Please forward comments to info@msp.mb.ca.

Sincerely,

Mel Baxter
President

  1. Manitoba News Release -  The province is updating Manitoba's pharmacare program to better ensure deductible changes are gradual when families have a change in income, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

 "Small increases in income shouldn't mean a significant jump in a family's pharmacare deductible," Oswald said.  "The changes we're making today will make Manitoba's pharmacare deductible structure more gradual and fair."

Manitoba's pharmacare deductible rate will continue to be a percentage of family income. However, more income brackets have been put in place so that any deductible increases are gradual. The province committed to update pharmacare deductibles in last month's provincial budget.

Oswald said a majority of people receiving pharmacare will see either no change or a slight decrease in their deductible this year as a result of this step and will be better protected against large deductible increases in the future. Some will see a small increase in their deductible this year of no more than five per cent.  The minister noted these changes build on previous action the province has taken to protect Manitobans from rising drug costs.

Since 1999, the province's investment in pharmacare has risen by more than 220 per cent. To address rising drug costs, the province adopted a new generic drug policy that saved more than $7 million in drug costs in 2008-09.  These savings are directly reinvested into pharmacare to expand the number of drugs covered and to keep the program affordable for Manitoba families.

The province has added more than 2,000 new drugs to the approved pharmacare list since 1999 to meet the health needs of Manitobans, the minister said.  The average annual benefit paid to pharmacare recipients has more than doubled in that time, to $2,542 last year. Pharmacare coverage has been extended to an additional 25,000 Manitoba families since 1999.

Pharmacare is a universal, comprehensive prescription drug benefit program for any Manitoban, with benefits based on family income. It covers 100 per cent of eligible drug costs once the income-based deductible is reached, regardless of age or medical condition.

More information about the Manitoba Pharmacare Program, including an online deductible estimator, is available at www.gov.mb.ca/health/pharmacare.

  1. Manitoba News Release – Bulletin # 7 H1N1 FLU

Public Health

-  At this time, there are no confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in Manitoba.

-  To date, there have been no reported cases of severe illness in Manitobans or Canadians who have travelled from H1N1 flu-affected areas.

-  The Manitoba government is working with health-care providers and organizations such as regional health authorities across the province to watch for and care for people with symptoms of flu-like illness.

-  The symptoms of flu, such as fever, cough, aches and tiredness, usually begin within two to three days of contact with the virus and almost always begin within five days.

-  If you have been travelling and a week has gone by since you left Mexico or other H1N1 flu-affected areas and you do not have flu-like symptoms, you have no reason to worry about H1N1 flu resulting from your travels.

-  If you do develop flu-like symptoms, you may be contagious for up to a week. You should:

-  Stay home from school or work and limit contact with others to reduce the chance of infecting them.

-  Reduce the spread of germs by avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth, covering your cough by coughing into your elbow or sleeve or using a tissue, and by washing your hands frequently.

-  Contacting your health-care provider or Health Links–Info Santé if you are concerned that you may need care.

-  As with all infectious respiratory diseases, all Manitobans are encouraged to use routine precautionary measures.

-  Cover a cough by coughing into your elbow or sleeve or using a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.

-  Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.

-  Maintain your health by making healthy food choices, being physically active and getting enough sleep.

-  For links to more information, visit the H1N1 flu website at www.manitoba.ca. For personal advice on self-care or when to seek further care, Manitobans should contact their primary-care physician or other health-care provider or phone Health Links–Info Santé at 788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free).

Health Planning and Response

-  Manitoba has been planning for a flu pandemic for several years and has a comprehensive system to address a pandemic. Provincial and regional officials are meeting regularly to ensure the implementation of plans is co-ordinated.

-  Provincial officials, regional health authorities and partners are ready and continue to work together to monitor the situation and ensure an appropriate response.

-  Updated information has been provided to the public through media interviews and website information.

-  In addition, the chief provincial public health officer and others from Manitoba Health and Healthy Living have sent letters to physicians, health-care providers, health-care organizations, governments, schools, universities, municipalities, First Nations communities, and business and labour organizations to provide information on the current H1N1 flu situation. These letters are posted on the H1N1 flu website at www.manitoba.ca.

-  For current information on travel health notices, warnings and advisories, visit:

www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/pub-eng.php.

Food Safety and Animal Health

-  H1N1 flu is not a food safety issue. Sick pigs do not enter the food chain.

-  Properly cooked pork is safe. There is no evidence the H1N1 virus is transmitted through food.  Pork should always be well-cooked to an internal temperature of +71 C/+160 F, until the meat juices are clear and there is no visible pinkness.

-  The Manitoba government has been in contact with the Manitoba Chicken Producers, Manitoba Egg Producers and Manitoba Pork Council to share information with swine and poultry producers and all local veterinarians on the H1N1 virus.

-  Monitoring swine in Manitoba for a variety of flu viruses remains an ongoing process as part of provincial measures to increase the health and safety preparedness of the pork industry. So far, there is no evidence this new virus is circulating in Manitoba swine herds.

-  Manitoba veterinarians and the pork industry are constantly monitoring for new diseases. Swine flu among pigs is not unusual and is not usually fatal in swine. Swine flu has existed in Canada and Manitoba for a number of years.

-  Swine producers are reminded they need to maintain bio-security measures in their barns and on their property. For the industry to protect itself, it is necessary for producers to restrict access to their barns and swine herds to authorized personnel who adhere to the high sanitary requirements that can prevent the introduction of the flu virus into their facility. People who are ill or have flu symptoms should not go into pig or poultry production facilities.

-  Owners of hobby farms with small numbers of swine are encouraged to monitor their livestock for flu symptoms and contact their veterinarian should these symptoms arise.

-  Owners of pets like dogs or cats do not need to be concerned about the H1N1 flu. Owners of pet pigs should be aware swine and humans can trade viruses so they should follow the usual precautions, monitor the health of their pet and call a veterinarian if it shows signs of illness.

Additional information is available at www.manitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Society of Pharmacists
202-90 Garry Street, Winnipeg, MB R3C 4H1
Phone: (204) 956-6681 | Fax: (204) 956-6686
www.msp.mb.ca