Thursday, April 25, 2013

The BC Liberal Party's Killing Of The Therapeutics Initiative...

...Is There A Deflector Spike Spin Strategy Afoot?

Yesterday's post detailed how the BC Liberal Government of Gordon Campbell AND Christy Clark conspired to first mortally wound and then kill the Therapeutics Initiative.

And we also noted that Adrian Dix announced on Tuesday that, if elected, his government will resurrect the TI and double it's budget...


In case you missed it the 'TI' is a homegrown initiative that saves both lives and millions of tax dollars by analyzing published, peer-reviewed publications critically and then deciding which prescription medicines actually work best (i.e. they rely on actual data rather than drug company advertising).

In other words, if you truly have the interests of the citizens of British Columbia at heart, keeping the Therapeutics Initiative alive is a no brainer.

And if you have someone else's interests at heart?




With all that in mind, isn't it most interesting that the Fraser Institute today announced the release another 'report', this one focussed on (surprise!), how long it takes to approve prescription drugs in Canada:

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - April 25, 2013) - It takes Health Canada nearly a year to grant marketing approval to prescription drugs while new medicines are often approved faster in Europe and the United States, according to a new report from the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

Federal Delays in Approving New Medicines calculates that Health Canada took a median of 355 days to issue a Notice of Compliance certifying new patented medicines as safe and effective in 2011.

"These new drugs have already passed extensive clinical trials in accordance with international safety standards, and are reviewed by European and American agencies for safety and efficacy. But Health Canada holds them in bureaucratic limbo, often for more than a year," said Nadeem Esmail, Fraser Institute director of health policy studies and co-author of the report.

"This raises important questions about whether the drug evaluation system in this country is beneficial or detrimental to Canadians."...


It's not what is actually in this report that bugs me.

Because we who have been paying attention expect this kind of 'get rid of all the regulations/precautionary principles' stuff from the Fraser Institute.

Instead, what really bugs me here is the timing.

Because how many average folks out there are going to think critically when they hear/read/see the two opposing soundbite versions of this story (Dippers want to hold up drug adoption vs. Free Enterprisers want to speed drug approval).

You see where I'm coming from with the header to this post now?

And do not be fooled, Big Pharma  advertising is not aimed just at patients/consumers on the TeeVee, it is also aimed at physicians writing scripts in their offices...
And, like the citizens of British Columbia, Big Pharma has interests that can be taken to heart too....It's just that those interests are not necessarily the same, right?
Norm Farrell has more, including information from Ben Goldacre who writes regularly on this issue more generally in The Guardian.



Anonymous said...

Big Pharma states that the cost of bringing a new drug to market is about $1 billion. A study done in 2009 indicates the cost is more like, $55 million.

One of the people involved in this study was Rebecca Warburton, one of those fired by the Ministry of Health.
Why is there a gag order on those fired and why haven't we heard anything from the RCMP in over a year.

Here's the Light & Warburton study on Research & Development

cfvua said...

Would anyone with the initials PK have been involved in any strategic lobbying/non-lobbying on this over the years? Just askin'.

macadavy said...

Not to put too fine a point on it, as someone living with HIV disease, TI is one factor that may just have saved my life and many others.