One of Canada's biggest selling newspapers, The Globe and Mail, last week featured an update on the recommendations made last year at the inquest of Oakville, ON, teen Sara Carlin.
It was made apparent for all to see that Health Canada, the nation's drug regulator, intend to do nothing to warn doctors and patients about the dangers of children and adolescents being prescribed SSRi type drugs.
Personally, this comes as no surprise to me, Health Canada are basically the same as other drug regulators around the world in as much that they are a limpless machine churning out the same old bullshit when a drug they are supposed to regulate comes under fire.
Back in June last year I covered every day of the Sara Carlin inquest, I labelled it the 'Sara Carlin Vs GSK and friends inquest' because it was pretty obvious from the start that the Coroner wished to completely exonerate Glaxo's Paxil [known as Seroxat in the UK] from causing 18 years old Sara Carlin to take an electric piece of wiring, wrap it around her neck and hang herself in the basement of her family home.
Halfway through day one of that inquest saw Coroner's counsel, Michael Blain, appear in front of TV camera's outside the inquest. Here's what he had to say:
Nice of Blain to offer his opinion halfway through the first day of the inquest!
The jury in the inquest, who actually waited until the inquest was complete, made 16 recommendations, one of which was a call for an independent drugs regulator, it was apparent that they too were not confident in Health Canada's role of monitoring drugs.
Last week the Globe and Mail issued a statement from Health Canada regarding this one particular recommendation, a statement that merely highlights their lack of care and buck passing because they don't want to take accountability for their own incompetence in monitoring drugs such as Paxil.
Health Canada, writes the Globe and Mail, responded by saying it already implemented that recommendation, citing the 2002 creation of the Marketed Health Products Directorate within the department that focuses on surveillance of drugs. It also noted the government set up the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network, which operates as part of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Health Canada's full response is posted on their website, a labyrinth to navigate around.
Here's what Health Canada failed to add.
Health Canada, in typical buck-passing style, responded by stating that they had, in 2002, already implemented the creation of a board that would operate independently from Health Canada. What they didn't add was that Pfizer Canada VP, Dr. Bernard Prigent was appointed to the governing board of Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) which oversees the Drug Safety Effectiveness Network (DSEN) - the very same body that Health Canada tout as an independent Drug safety agency!
This conflict of interest raised eyebrows with the Canadian House of Commons Committee back in 2009.
Prof. Jocelyn Downie (Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, Professor of Law and Medicine, Dalhousie University addressed the committee and made three points regarding Pfizer's Dr. Bernard Prigent's appointment:
First, Dr. Prigent's ability to bring his expertise in innovation and commercialization to the GC table is fatally limited by the fact that he is currently a Vice-President at Pfizer. A qualified candidate must not only have certain knowledge and skills but must also be able to use his knowledge and skills. This is a significant problem for Dr. Prigent.
Second, commercialization is not CIHR's objective. Rather, it is but one means for realizing CIHR's objective, which is, in fact, “the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened Canadian health care system”.
Third, not only are innovation and commercialization only a means to CIHR's objective, but they are not the only nor the most important of CIHR's statutorily mandated means of achieving its objective. The CIHR Act requires CIHR to meet its objective by, among other things, “promoting, assisting and undertaking research that meets the highest international scientific standards of excellence and ethics”. By contrast, “encouraging innovation, facilitating the commercialization of health research” is but one of 12 means available to CIHR.
It's amazing isn't it? Time and time again these lilly-livered drug regulators shirk their responsibility and think everything will be just peachy clean if another board is created to help regulate drugs...providing that board has someone at the helm who has an Oh so obvious conflict of interest.
Health Canada's response to this particular recommendation smacks of a 'couldn't give a shit' attitude. It highlights their failure to protect children and adolescents from harmful drugs and shows their lack of care when it comes to giving impartial voices to 'independent bodies' that actually wish to protect the patients rather than the pharmaceutical industry.
I'd love to meet with Health Canada, it would be like Groundhog Day for me as I have already met with their British counterparts, the MHRA. I wonder if Health Canada would nod their heads and show empathy just as the MHRA did to me. I wonder if Health Canada would pretty much ignore the problems patients are facing once I left the meeting table...just like the MHRA did with me.
To be honest, I've got far better things to do than to meet with limp-wristed cowards who are severely lacking in the gonad department. I'd rather bang my head against a brick wall than meet with medicine regulators whose sole purpose is to protect themselves from their own failures at the expense of human life.
I'll be in Canada later this year, I'll pay my respects to Sara Carlin in a private moment by her resting place. I'll tell her I tried my hardest to give her a voice and I'll tell her that, in her death, she has created an awareness for many parents across Canada, an awareness that the limpless folk at Health Canada should have been on top of years ago.
The Globe and Mail article can be read HERE - The comment section sees the pharmacuetical shills at work once again. Those who have left appalling comments and sided with GlaxoSmithKline and their shills should be utterly ashamed of themselves. 
Sara Carlin - Death by Paxil Inquest [PDF]
 The Inquest of Sara Carlin and the Moderation of Yahoo Groups
Sara's Voice [Over 6,000 views]
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'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
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