A parliament battle currently raging gives the impression that the Conservative government isn't keen on delivering affordable drugs to children dying from HIV in the rest of the world.
Of course, many members of the public disagree, especially the 30,261 signatories of a petition calling for the government to support Bill C-393.
Canadians pay 16 to 40 per cent more for drugs than the average of industrialized countries. A national Pharmacare program, as a half-dozen countries already have, would save Canada over $10 billion a year on its $25-billion drug bill. Even other reforms short of a full national program would save billions in administration costs, drug costs (through bulk buying) and eliminated tax subsidies.
This claim is the argument of a report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Since rising drug prices are one of the main drivers of a health-care system said to be headed for unsustainability, shouldn't we be curious about checking this out?
In a breakthrough in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, last summer Dr. Paolo Zamboni, a vascular surgeon from the University of Ferrara in Italy, made public the results of findings from his study of 65 MS patients.
Dr. Zamboni and colleagues investigated CCSVI -- Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency -- a condition characterized by blockages in the veins causing problems in the blood flow drainage from the brain and/or spinal cord of sufferers. This condition has been shown to contribute in a significant way to the many symptoms of multiple sclerosis. It can be relieved by angioplasty, which is a simple surgical treatment that removes the blockages.
Allen Jones couldn't stand by and let the government officials he worked for recommend expensive and possibly unsafe drugs for mental health patients so that they could get kickbacks from the pharmaceutical industry.
Jones, who was an investigator at the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General, found that Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceutical paid honoraria to key state officials who held influence over drugs prescribed in state-run prisons and mental hospitals. He was fired when he blew the whistle, so he sued his employer in a case that wound up in the Texas courts and resulted in a $158 settlement from Johnson & Johnson and Janssen.