Canadian doctors warn health system not sufficient to help with looming mental health crisis

Canadian doctors warn health system is not sufficient to help with looming mental health crisis.

The holidays can be a difficult time of year for many Canadians, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic making people feel more isolated than ever, and doctors are warning that the therapies available through the Canadian health system is not sufficient to help people with anxiety and other mental health issues.

“I can tell you that during the pandemic, our department has had a 30% increased workload because a lot of people have not been doing well,” says Michael Van Ameringen, MD, FRCPC, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University.

He also notes that current available therapies are not always helpful. “If you look globally, there’s probably roughly 40% of people that either can’t tolerate or are non-responsive to any of our traditional therapies for anxiety, including cognitive behavioural therapy, antidepressants, benzodiazepines.”

“It doesn’t matter what the first or second-line treatment is that we give people, we still have got a large gap of people who either can’t tolerate it or don’t get a response or only get a partial response. So, we absolutely need other treatments for a good portion of patients and treatments that work by a different mechanism of action,” he adds.

EmpowerPharm Inc., helmed by some of Canada’s best-known pharmaceutical pioneers, is working to change that that by developing a first-of-its-kind prescription tablet containing synthetic CBD to treat anxiety so Canada can be better prepared for future mental health crises. 

Dr. Van Ameringen joined EmpowerPharm’s Medical Advisory Board because he says he was excited that the company is taking a scientific approach to using CBD.

“I’m part of a cannabis research group at McMaster and I’ve really struggled with working in the medical cannabis space, so EmpowerPharm is just a breath of fresh air in their approach and the way they’re going to work on cannabis research”

Pending clinical research results, Empower CBD™ may help Canadians manage future holiday anxiety, without the serious potential side-effects associated with some current prescription drugs. Containing CBD as the active ingredient (API), the Empower CBD™ tablets will contain zero THC and be 99% pure.

EmpowerPharm will be going through the rigorous clinical studies for approval by national regulatory authorities including Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Once Empower CBD™ is proven safe and effective through rigorous clinical research, a Drug Identification Number (DIN) will be sought from Health Canada. The Empower CBD™ will be sold exclusively through pharmacies or dispensed in hospitals by qualified health professionals as any other prescription drug. EmpowerPharm Inc. will pursue both private and public coverage, ensuring that treatment costs for many patients will be reimbursed by insurance companies and/or provincial drug plans for wide patient accessibility.

EmpowerPharm is led by three prominent leaders who pioneered Canada’s generic pharmaceutical industry, helped scale the industry globally and created thousands of Canadian jobs. Each member of the senior management team brings an average 30 years of industry experience to the company. Aubrey Dan, O.C., Executive Chairman & Co-Founder is a former pharmaceutical executive at Novopharm Ltd., President of Wampole Canada Inc. and Order of Canada recipient, Peter Billiaert President & Co-Founder is a former Vice President with Novopharm Ltd. and Teva Pharmaceuticals and Jack Kay, Vice Chairman, is the former President and CEO of Apotex Inc.