Vanessa was the fifteen-year-old daughter of the then Conservative Member of Parliament Terence Young. Vanessa suffered a stomach ailment and was prescribed medication as a result. Soon after beginning the medication, Vanessa sadly died of a heart attack. The drug she had been prescribed was later found to be unsafe and was pulled from the market. Mr. Young thereafter pushed for more stringent legislation to protect Canadians from unsafe drugs and for a better drug-monitoring system.
The result was the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Actpassed in November of 2014. It has become known as Vanessa’s Law. It amended the Food and Drugs Actby adding the obligation that prescribed health care institutions (hospitals) were to report any negative experiences with therapeutic medications and medical devices.
A serious adverse drug reaction (SADR) is defined under the legislation as:
noxious and unintended response to a drug that occurs at any dose and that requires in-patient hospitalization or prolongation of existing hospitalization, causes congenital malformation, results in persistent or significant disability or incapacity, is life-threatening or results in death.
A medical device incident (MDI) is defined under the legislation as:
n incident related to a failure of a medical device or a deterioration in its effectiveness, or any inadequacy in its labelling or in its directions for use that has led to the death or a serious deterioration in the state of health of a patient, user, or other person, or could do so were it to recur.
Amendments to the Regulations made under the Food and Drugs Act and Vanessa’s Law are now passed and will come into force on December 16th, 2019. They seek to better outline the scope of the reporting obligation. They will impact virtually all hospitals in Canada.
According to the amendments, the required report must be submitted in writing within thirty days of the reporting incident and must include:
Hospitals are exempted from the reporting requirements where:
Practicing up-to-date compliance with the law is the best way to avoid litigation in the future. To ensure compliance with all applicable health care regulations and legislation, it's best to reach out to an experienced health care lawyer who is up to date on all applicable laws and amendments.
At Wise Health Law,we are passionate about helping healthcare organizations, regulated health professionals, and regulated health professional associations understand and protect their legal rights. We follow developments in the law and are consistently at the forefront of change and innovation. Contact us online, or at 416-915-4234 for a consultation.
In December 2019, Ontario’s Attorney General introduced Bill 161, the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act (the “Act”), which became law on July 8, 2020. The Act hopes to simplify a complex and outdated justice system by bringing changes to how legal aid services are delivered, how class actions are handled, and how court processes are administered.
Of note, the Act has amended the Judicial Review Procedures Act (JRPA) to establish new rules as to when an application for judicial review may be brought.
Any decisions made on or after July 8, 2020 are now subject to a 30-day limit for bringing an application for judicial review unless another Act provides otherwise. Courts, however, retain powers to extend the time for making an application for judicial review if satisfied that there are apparent grounds for relief and that no prejudice or hardship will be incurred by the delay. Before these amendments, the JRPA did not set out any time limits for bringing an application, but courts had powers to extend the time to bring an application if another Act prescribed the limit.
In early August 2020, the Federal Minister of Health granted an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) to four terminally ill Canadians to use psilocybin in their end of life care.
Psilocybin is one of the active ingredients/chemicals in “magic mushrooms,” the other is psilocin. Both psilocybin and psilocin are controlled substances under Schedule III of the CDSA. The sale, possession, production, etc. are prohibited unless authorized for clinical trial or research purposes under Part J of the Food and Drug Regulations. Both have been illegal in Canada since 1974. According to Health Canada, there are no approved therapeutic products containing psilocybin in Canada. However, the purified active ingredient, i.e. psilocybin, is being studied in supervised clinical settings for its potential to treat various conditions such as anxiety and depression.