"The last act in a nasty vendetta has finally played out. Premier Gordon Campbell's government has decided to kill B.C.'s only independent drug review agency. And not just kill it, but bury it in an unmarked grave.
The agency involved is called the Therapeutics Initiative. Based at the University of British Columbia, it evaluates new drugs that come on the market.
The Therapeutics Initiative saves taxpayers $50 million annually by finding cheaper alternatives. Largely thanks to its efforts, B.C. has the lowest drug costs in the country, despite offering some of the best coverage.
Moreover, the Therapeutics Initiative runs on a shoestring budget. The agency gets $1 million a year. That means it generates a 50 to one return on investment.
Finally, its researchers have been credited with saving 500 lives by issuing timely warnings about suspect medications. When the new anti-inflammatory product Vioxx came out, the agency discovered a link with increased heart attack rates. As a result, although Vioxx was approved across most of North America, it was kept off the shelves in B.C......