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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Health Canada's Revolving Door



You thought the FDA's ties to the industry were bad, or even the MHRA's 'jobs for the ex-pharma boys was repulsive. Think on!

Health Canada's revolving door for past employees of the pharmaceutical industry is, alarmingly, spinning out of control. Each rotation of the door at Health Canada sees the industry monopolise pretty much everything in Canada.

Arthur Schafer writes the following in a column for the Ottawa Citizen:

"The people who run Health Canada certainly know how to get the job done. First, you announce a series of "stakeholder" consultations on drug regulation. You call the process Health Canada Technical Consultations on Regulatory Modernization. The innocuous title - Who could be against modernization? - sounds as if it's little more than standard issue bureaucratic rigmarole. Ordinary folks are more likely to reach for toothpicks with which to prop open their sagging eyelids than to feel a sense of alarm. The pharmaceutical industry, however, knows exactly what's going on and it's always quick off the mark when the stakes are high.

"The participants' list for this governmental exercise in "public consultation" makes it obvious, but only to insiders, that the fix is in. Here is Health Canada's recipe: one-third of participants should be drawn directly from the drug industry; one-third should be health professionals funded by the drug industry; and one-third should be drawn from patient and disease groups, also funded by industry."

Welcome to yet another medicines regulator run by the pharmaceutical industry, where drugs will be granted a licence with the click of ones fingers, where adverse drug reactions, reported by the public, will be, in the main, ignored or played down. Where the buck will be passed from within the departments of Health Canada, in the meantime more patients struggle with the drugs prescribed to them by Canadian doctors.

Earlier this year saw recommendations made at the Sara Carlin inquest, one of the main recommendations was a call for an independent drugs regulator. Even the five person jury could see the total bias that exists with this particular bunch of limp-wristed yes men.

The pharmaceutical industry are having their cake and eating it, it's a two finger salute to the Canadian public, the two fingers dripping in Maple syrup with a crystal clear message to Canadian citizens. "It's no use complaining, we have the monopoly here. You will take the drugs we once manufactured, the drugs we now monitor."

The whole regulatory system is the proverbial 'jobs for the boys'. Goliath meets Goliath and keeps the public in check.

The pharmaceutical industry is holding the balls of Canadians, it's gently squeezing them. Complain and the squeeze becomes a firm grip.

If ever there was proof that the industry regulates its own drugs then the current revolving door at Health Canada is evidence of that.

Further reading HERE

Fid

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