Monday, November 24, 2014

Historic $130 million gift from the Rogers family to establish the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research.. The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids),

Historic $130 million gift from the Rogers family to establish the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), University Health Network (UHN) and the University of Toronto (U of T) announced today the creation of the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research (the Centre) funded by an unprecedented donation of $130 million from the Rogers family – the largest monetary gift ever made to a Canadian health care initiative. The donation will be matched with $139 million in additional funds combined from SickKids, UHN, and U of T for a total investment of $269 million.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research to life,” said Loretta Rogers, wife of the late Ted Rogers. “It’s a testament to Ted’s drive for innovation and his commitment to leaving the world a better place. We know Ted would have been proud of this bold initiative that will improve heart health for all.”

Ted Rogers’ personal experience with heart disease and his interest in finding new therapies to advance heart health make the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research a fitting legacy, noted Dr. Michael Apkon, President and CEO of SickKids. “The generosity and magnitude of this gift, and the transformational effect it will have on heart research, truly reflects the pioneering and innovative spirit of Ted Rogers and his family. This powerful, collaborative partnership among SickKids, UHN and U of T will have a global impact. Together we hope to accelerate discovery and cardiac care at an unprecedented pace.”

Heart disease represents a considerable economic strain on the Canadian health care system. The annual cost for managing moderate and severe heart failure patients in Canada is as much as $2.3 billion. “Today, one million Canadians are living with heart failure, and that number is projected to increase 25 per cent over the next 20 years,” noted Dr. Barry Rubin, Chair and Program Medical Director of UHN’s Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. “This unprecedented gift will enable physicians and scientists working together in the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research to develop new therapies that will dramatically improve the lives of patients with heart disease. One of our primary goals is to reduce hospitalization for heart failure by 50 per cent in the next decade. Ted Rogers led the development of the telecommunications industry through a constant focus on innovation. We will use Mr. Rogers’ approach to change the face of heart disease in Canada and throughout the world.”

Adding to the exceptional nexus of clinicians, scientists and engineers already accelerating the pace of change in cardiac care across the partner institutions, The Centre will be a magnet to attract the top research talent from around the world, further solidifying Toronto and Canada’s position as global leaders in cardiac care, noted Professor Meric Gertler, President of the University of Toronto. “The Toronto region is home to one of the world’s largest biomedical science and health education clusters. This exceptionally powerful network of researchers and educators is translating exciting ideas, innovations and therapies in stem cell research and regenerative medicine into clinical settings where they will address the most challenging problems across the spectrum of heart disease. With its pioneering spirit and innovative approach, the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research will be a world-class collaboration and a most fitting tribute to its namesake.”

The Centre will have facilities in the three participating institutions, with its directorate situated at UHN. It will be the first in the world to bring together research, education and innovation in individualized genomic medicine, stem cell research, bioengineering, and cardiovascular treatment and management under one umbrella with a single focus: improving heart health across the entire life span, from children to adults. Each partner will take the lead in a particular area of focus:

SickKids will harness the power of genomic science to decode the genetic foundations of cardiac disease, which will allow for heart disease to be better predicted before it occurs, and will support individualized therapies for children and adults, based on the unique genome of each patient.
UHN, through the application of powerful databases, new biomarkers for cardiac disease, regenerative and individualized medicine approaches and state-of-the-art-real-time home monitoring and telecommunications technologies, will focus on the translation of research discovery into the delivery of care for patients. Foundational to this approach is a customized cardiovascular data module for a new electronic patient record which is linked to a Biobank which will house a vast array of biologic samples that come from both adult and paediatric patients.
U of T will combine stem cell technology with novel approaches in cellular and tissue engineering for the regeneration of heart muscle, coronary vessels, and heart valves; enlarge our understanding of how genetic, molecular signaling, and cellular networks function as the heart develops, opening up the possibility for more effective heart therapies; and, create technologies and tools for improved heart physiology monitoring in clinical settings.

The Centre will also establish an innovation fund to drive discovery and development of next-generation therapies for heart failure, and an education fund to attract the best and brightest students and postgraduates to ensure a deep pool of talent in Canada for cardiac care and research.

To learn more about the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, go to

- See more at

Monday, November 10, 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Statement by the Honourable Rona Ambrose on the import ban of drug products from three plants in IndiaSeptember 30, 2014 - Ottawa - Health Canada Copy

Statement by the Honourable Rona Ambrose on the import ban of drug products from three plants in IndiaSeptember 30, 2014 - Ottawa - Health Canada
Protecting the health and safety of Canadians is our government's highest priority. Our expectation is that Health Canada uses the appropriate powers and tools at its disposal to help ensure that the drugs Canadians need meet the highest safety and quality standards.

To that end, Health Canada has taken decisive action today to stop the import into Canada of all drug products from three plants in India. They are:
Apotex Pharmachem India Pvt Ltd
Apotex Research Private Limited
IPCA Laboratories

The Department has ordered an import ban after it received new information yesterday from the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA). This latest information puts into question Health Canada's trust in the reliability of data that all three plants are required by law to provide to demonstrate the safety and quality of their products.

I would like to reassure Canadians that Health Canada actions are guided by science and evidence every step of the way.

The ban is a precautionary step. Health Canada has received no evidence that the products pose an immediate risk. Like the FDA, Health Canada does not feel that a recall of any products made at these plants is required at this time.

But when trust between a regulator and a company is broken, strong actions are required. The import ban will remain in place until such time as the Department is satisfied that the data integrity problems have been resolved.

Health Canada is in ongoing communication with provinces and territories to determine what impact a ban might have on the supply of medically necessary drugs. Should it be determined that there are no alternatives on the Canadian market to certain products from these plants they will be exempted from the import ban, but only after they have undergone testing by an independent quality assurance laboratory.

Our government will not tolerate a failure by drug companies to meet their obligations to abide by Canada's high safety and quality standards. New powers proposed in Vanessa's Law (Bill C-17) will provide the tools to better respond to drug safety issues including powers to order mandatory recalls of unsafe drugs so that Health Canada does not have to negotiate with companies when safety issues are identified, tough new fines for companies who put Canadians at risk, and the authorities required to publish even more data from drug reviews and clinical trials.

We will continue to take actions as needed to protect Canadians, and provide information in an open and transparent way.

- 30 -

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The federal government is appealing a Federal Court decision that threatened to strike down its new policy on refugee health care as "cruel and unusual" treatment.

The federal government is appealing a Federal Court decision that threatened to strike down its new policy on refugee health care as "cruel and unusual" treatment.
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander also filed a motion to stay the judgment of Judge Anne Mactavish, whose ruling meant refugee applicants would once again have access to Canadian health care while they wait for a decision on their cases in Canada.
Chris Alexander says he'll appeal ruling reversing cuts to refugee health care
The federal government's court case losing streak
Federal cuts to refugee health care draw protests

The government claims 13 grounds for its appeal, including the argument that the judge made several errors of fact. It also says the judge "applied different standards of reliability to the evidence of the applicants and the respondents."

In an interview with CBC News, the lead lawyer who won the case said the government's months-long delay in filing the appeal, and the motion for a stay of judgment, means his team will have to scramble to prevent serious health problems among refugees from going untreated.
'Justice Mactavish in her decision made it clear denial of health coverage is putting people's lives at risk.'— Lorne Waldmann, Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care

"If the matter is stayed there will be a delay and so there will be thousands of persons who should be getting coverage as a result of that order who will be denied that coverage for a longer period of time," said Lorne Waldman, who represents the group Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care.

"Justice Mactavish in her decision made it clear denial of health coverage is putting people's lives at risk."

Waldman also vowed to try to speed up the appeal process.

"We're going to vigorously oppose the stay, and we're going to seek to have the appeal expedited so that we can have a final determination on all these issues," he said. "In our hope, if the judgment is upheld, refugees will be entitled to health-care coverage and get the coverage they need so they will not be exposed to a risk to their lives."

In a statement, three parties to the original case, Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, and Justice for Children and Youth, denounced the government’s decision to appeal.
Lives at risk, judge ruled

In an email, Alexander's spokeswoman Codie Taylor said the minister is following up on his promise to appeal.

"As Minister Alexander said in July, the government will be appealing this flawed decision," she wrote. "The notice of appeal was recently filed and we will be aggressively defending the needs of genuine refugees and Canadian taxpayers."

Ottawa trimmed medical benefits for newcomers in 2012, leaving most immigrants with basic, essential health care but without supplementals such as vision and dental care.

However, rejected refugee claimants and refugee claimants from countries the government considers safe are eligible under the new law for care only when they pose a threat to public health.

In her ruling, Mactavish said the federal cabinet has the power to make the changes it did, and that the procedure was fair, but that the people affected by the changes are being subjected to "cruel and unusual" treatment.

"This is particularly, but not exclusively, so, as it affects children who have been brought to this country by their parents," Mactavish wrote in the 268-page decision.

"The 2012 modifications to the [Interim Federal Health Program] potentially jeopardize the health, the safety and indeed the very lives, of these innocent and vulnerable children in a manner that shocks the conscience and outrages Canadian standards of decency.

"I have found as a fact that lives are being put at risk."

Waldman noted the government quietly filed the appeal on Sept. 22 without any fanfare or notice to the opposing parties. And he added his office was only served notice yesterday, a week after the initial notice of appeal was filed.

He said it's an obvious stall tactic.

"The longer it takes for the judgment to be implemented the more people will be placed at risk, and that's simply unacceptable," he said.

Mactavish's ruling would have restored health care to refugee applicants this November, but if the stay is granted, that won't happen.