Panaceia or Hygeia

immunize yourself against the pandemic of lifestyle diseases

Archive for April, 2009

Yves Bolduc – Minister of Health and Drug Salesman

Posted by Colin Rose on April 27, 2009

On learning that Quebec spends much more per capita on drugs than the Canadian average, Yves Bolduc, Quebec’s Minister of Health and Social Services, proclaimed that he wanted everyone to know that this was GOOD NEWS and that he was happy to see that Quebec was ahead of the other provinces. He added that in Quebec people take the drugs they need for their diseases while in the other provinces they don’t take the drugs they need and as a result their high blood pressure and cholesterol problem aren’t treated. He also thinks that spending more on drugs is economic because more drugs mean less is spent in other treatments.

Lets examine the Minister’s logic.

If Quebec is ahead of other provinces, in what respect is it ahead? Quebec has the same life expectancy as Ontario but less than British Columbia who spend much less on drugs. Nova Scotia which spends the most on drugs has one of the lowest life expectancies in Canada. So, there is no correlation between drug consumption and the best measure of overall health, life expectancy.

statcan-lifeexpectancyBolduc says that drugs are needed to treat high blood pressure and cholesterol. Not true. Lifestyle change is far more efficient and cheaper than drugs for treating these “diseases” that are in most cases just symptoms of self-destructive lifestyles. He wouldn’t dare say that all weaned citizens of Quebec should follow a low-fat Mediterranean type diet, eat no junk food and have a waist circumference less than half their height before even considering drugs for lifestyle diseases, like hypertension, diabetes and atherosclerosis. Political disaster. If he did so, the highways of Quebec would be instantly blockaded by pig and dairy farmers. All fast food franchise owners, restaurant owners, junk food producers, their employees and their families would never vote Liberal.

There is not  a shred of evidence that spending more on drugs for the diseases of lifestyle to which he refers translates into less spending on other treatment for these diseases.

So why does the Minister like more drug sales in Quebec and everywhere else? Maybe it’s because drug marketing is the largest industry on the west half of the island of Montreal where there are innumerable drug marketing agencies employing thousands of people funded by profits from Big Pharma. If you run a gigantic bureaucracy like the Ministry of Health and Social Services you need a lot of money and all that tax revenue from drug profits helps your Ministry to get bigger and bigger and gives you more power. So buying more drugs is a form of hidden taxation with no significant benefits in most cases. The Minister wouldn’t dare say that most of the expensive drugs are unnecessary and lifestyle change is essential. He would be reducing his own power and making a lot of voters on the West Island, a stronghold of Liberal power, very unhappy.


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Drug costs have ballooned in Quebec

Posted by Colin Rose on April 18, 2009

Why am I not surprised? In Quebec, doctors are paid by drug dealers to prescribe drugs.


Drug costs have ballooned in Quebec
The Gazette
17 Apr 2009

Quebec spends far more on prescription drugs than any other province or territory in Canada – a factor that’s to blame for spiralling healthcare costs, a new study reveals. More disturbing, Quebec has gone from spending the least of any province on…read more…

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AstraZeneca pays medical students

Posted by Colin Rose on April 13, 2009

So it has finally come to this. It is not enough that drug dealers fund medical school faculties, now they are paying medical students. Anyone who thinks this donation to a bursary fund by one of the most aggressive drug marketers is not going to give them a lot of influence over drug policy in New Brunswick is very naive. Insidiously, the entire medical profession is becoming a marketing branch of drug dealers.


Bursary program launched for med students

Cindy Wilson/Telegraph-Journal

Published Friday April 3rd, 2009


SAINT JOHN – The first donation Thursday to a new trust fund will allow two medical students to receive four years of free education at the Saint John medical school.

Mark Jones, president and CEO of AstraZeneca, said he hopes his company’s $500,000 donation will help kick-start the New Brunswick Medical Education Trust.

The aim is to raise enough money to pay for the education of 10 students per year. In return, the students will have to promise to stay and work in the province.

The New Brunswick Medical Education Trust was established Thursday afternoon when AstraZeneca Canada Inc., a pharmaceutical company, donated the first $500,000 toward the bursary program.

“The hardest donation to get is the first one,” said Mark Jones, president and CEO of AstraZeneca.

“Once you have somebody, it’s easier to bring others in. We just hope this donation will help kick-start this program.”

Dr. Donald Craig, chairman of the Medical Staff Organization of Zone 2, Regional Health Authority B, said the $500,000 was the first step in raising $15 million for a sustainable bursary program.

Craig said the money will be invested and the return on investment will pay the tuition for 10 medical students each year to study in the province

“We will pay the tuition for four years of medical school. We will probably find them summer work. If they are married, we will try to find their spouses jobs and in return we are asking for a service contract,” Craig said.

Craig said it has not been determined how long the bursary students will be required to live and work in the province.

He said the return on investment for the $500,000 donation received Thursday will pay for the tuition for two medical students who will study in New Brunswick when the medical program opens in September 2010.

Craig said business, governments and citizens will be asked to contribute to the trust and eventually enough money will be raised to fund 10 students per year.

“I hope the donation encourages other pharmaceutical companies. I hope it encourages communities in the province and governments provincially and federally, big industry, big business. We are going to be looking at all those aspects for help,” Craig said.

The trust was established by the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation and the Medical Staff Organization as a way to attract and retain doctors in the province.

On Thursday, Jones presented the cheque to the trust at an event held at the Regional Hospital.

When he was approached about the project, he said, the story of the challenges New Brunswick has faced in setting up the medical school and recruiting doctors was compelling and he wanted to be part of the effort toward change.

Health Minister Mike Murphy was on hand for the announcement and said there will be more announcements to come.

Murphy said Nova Scotia receives $150 million in research each year while New Brunswick gets $9 million for clinical trials. He said, in time, he believes the province can “outstrip and out rival Nova Scotia.”

“You will hear from the government and myself in several weeks with some exciting news about an initiative the government wants to put together,” Murphy said. “There is a necessity to have an infrastructure base and to have researchers here in Saint John, because as we know those who are going to teach in medicine will want to teach, practise and research. We are working very hard on that.”

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Cattle exports to U.S. down 30% this year

Posted by Colin Rose on April 9, 2009

So who needs this stuff anyway? There is no nutritional requirement for grain-fed, environmentally-destructive domestic livestock. If we want a healthy population as well as a “healthy rural economy” we should be harvesting free-range, grass-fed herbivores. We could promote such meat as “Obameat”, the carbon-neutral, environmentally friendly alternative to industrial meat

Cattle exports to U.S. down 30% this year

National Post
09 Apr 2009

Mr. Preugschas acknowledges that a trade challenge won’t do much, as it will take years before a final verdict is reached. “But you have to do it to make a point that you can’t willy-nilly come up with laws that violate trade agreements,” he said. The…read more…

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Living longer – and better

Posted by Colin Rose on April 7, 2009

While there are sensational, anecdotal reports of the marvels of high-tech medicine, the main, if not the only, reasons for the increase in life expectancy in the last 100 years in North America are improved living conditions and vaccination against childhood infectious diseases, none of which have anything to do with doctors and hospitals. Dramatic reductions in life expectancy have been seen recently in Russian after the break up of the Soviet Union due to poor quality diet and alcohol and in some African countries due to AIDS; doctors and hospitals made no difference. There is good reason not to be optimistic about the future. We are in the middle of a pandemic of obesity and its most serious consequence, Type 2 diabetes, which is already reducing life expectancy in some areas in the USA and threatens to obliterate the improvement in life expectancy over the last 50 years. No amount of hospitals, drugs or operations will prevent the looming catastophe.

Living longer – and better
The Gazette
07 Apr 2009

On a cool night last Labour Day weekend, Hector Mackenzie suffered a stroke that, had it happened 15 years ago, would have left him severely brain damaged or, more likely, dead. Mackenzie was helping his daughter Anna move into a house for her second…read more…

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OBSTAT-Doctors being paid to push drug study

Posted by Colin Rose on April 3, 2009

“Dr. LeLorier reports having served as a paid speaker or consultant for the following manufacturers of statins: Merck Frosst Canada, Pfizer Canada, AstraZeneca, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.” Why would anyone take any advice on statins from him?

Doctors being paid to push drug study
National Post
03 Apr 2009

Quebec doctors are being offered $100 for every new patient they put on cholesterollowering statin drugs as part of a major, federally subsidized study that is raising questions about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on health…read more…

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