In Brief – “A concerted corporate attack on independent groups” – BC pharmaceudical researcher

BC is ending its contract with Therapeutics Initiative — an independent drug watchdog organization and is instead substituting a Drug Review Council which allows individuals with drug company ties to participate in the review process. Based at the University of British Columbia, Therapeutics Initiative had enjoyed an excellent international reputation and is widely credited with saving more than 500 lives in the province after it warned about the dangers of rofecoxib (better know under its trade name Vioxx) and rosiglitazone. This was long before reports linked the drugs to an increased risk of heart attacks. James Wright, managing director of the Therapeutics Initiative, told the British Medical Journal “our job was to assess the evidence and provide unbiased information to the government so they could make a funding decisioin. You need an independent group that provides you with the information, and that’s what they have abolished.” Alan Cassels, a pharmaceudical policy researcher at the University of Victoria, told the BMJ “I see this as a global problem, a concerted corporate attack on independent groups.”

Addressing poverty would pay off in reducing health care costs – Stanford

CAW economist Jim Stanford writes in Wednesday’s Globe and Mail that Canada could cut diabetes costs in half by improving the living conditions of our poorest citizens. “There is now hard medical evidence that a person’s economic status and social participation directly affects their physical health,” he writes. “And that, in turn, affects the cost of health care. This is not vague, bleeding-heart sentimentalism; it is hard scientific proof.” Stanford says countries with very low poverty rates experience less than half the rate of diabetes as Canada. Matching their performance would save Canada $7 billion in health costs annually. He says the same math could apply to other socially determined diseases, such as hypertension, digestive maladies and mental health.

American unions also fighting back against attacks on public sector

Canadian unions are not the only ones to be addressing the scapegoating of public sector employees. The American Federation of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees has launched its own campaign “Stop the Lies.” Check out their video below:

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