Corrupt Pharma Execs Could Soon Face Jail in Canada

Rob Wipond
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Pharmaceutical industry executives who mislead the public could soon face fines of up to $5 million or two years in jail in Canada. According to a Canadian government press release, a bill that dramatically strengthens the government’s powers to regulate prescription drugs has passed through the House of Commons and is going to the Senate. The bill has been spearheaded by Member of Parliament Terence Young, who told the Commons his goal is to stop “the aggressive over-marketing of drugs, the misleading sales pitches, and the covering up of harms that victimize patients.” Young wrote the book Death by Prescription about his daughter’s death from the drug Prepulsid, which she was given to treat a mild eating disorder.

“The facts of this tragedy shock every lay-person who hears them,” Young said in his speech to the House of Commons about his daughter’s death. “Yet I was to quickly discover the insiders: doctors, researchers, and people at Big Pharma were never shocked. They knew all along that potentially life threatening drugs were being pushed on patients with non-life threatening conditions, as the drug business had become all about Wall St. And they were all benefiting financially, big time.”

“Vanessa’s Law” gives the government “the power to recall unsafe drugs, impose stiff financial penalties, and require mandatory adverse reaction reporting by healthcare facilities,” says the government press release. It will also “enhance transparency concerning Health Canada’s regulatory decisions, information regarding clinical trials, and the scope of confidential business information and disclosure.”

House of Commons adopts government strengthened patient safety legislation (Press Release, Government of Canada, June 16, 2014)
Bill C-17 An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (Parliament of Canada)
Death by Prescription (book by Terence Young)
March 28, 2014 – Terence Endorses Vanessa’s Law in the House of Commons (Transcript of Speech to House of Commons, Terence Young)

 

 

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a Victoria, British Columbia-based freelance journalist who has been writing on mental health issues for fifteen years. His research has particularly focused on the interfaces between psychiatry, the justice system, and civil rights. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, six Western Magazine Awards, and four Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He can be contacted through his website.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I have always maintained that the real reason big pharma is abandoning the development of new psychiatric drugs is precisely that their executives fear that they might end up in jail so they are shifting resources to areas of medicine where “illnesses” at least are real, like cancer, cholesterol disorders or infectious diseases.

      • Yes, Fiachra.

        As far as I understand it, the second and third generations of neuroleptics (also called ‚Atypicals‘) mask the neurological „adverse effects“ of the first generation major tranquilizers such as (tardive) dystonia and dyskinesia as well as akathisia – as long as an indivudal is on that particular class of drug, even though the neuroleptics as a ‚drug class‘ are highly heterogeneous, pharmacologically speaking.

        This particular masking or obscuring of the underlying drug-induced neurophysiological damage is achieved by adding antiparkinsonian agents such as ‚Biperiden‘ and derivatives to an already highly neurotoxic drug cocktail as it is – and this ‚paves the way’ for various cardiovascular, metabolic etc. so-called side-effects to become observable and recognizable as for what they are much more clearly than ever before.

  2. If my memory and understanding of David Healy’s writings on this is right, he (or some other critic) suggested that the research avenues have dried up for new drug development. Since there aren’t bio-markers, since the working theories are lame, since over considerable spans of time spotty treatment, no treatment, and placebo treatment all turn out to help as much as compliance… The drug prescription overkill eventually played out will have killed the research and practices that more careful, David Healy-like prescribing would have kept going.

  3. Travailler-vous
    I think the ‘antipsychotic’ ‘advances’ are recognised now as disaster. And the SSRI marketing confidence trick has run out of steam. At the same time there is becoming an acknowledgement of the fact that psychology works well for the ‘major mental illnesses’.
    Its more a question of how to organise the changeover.

  4. I don’t want to sound to cynical but maybe if every other family in the country has a story like that and that includes members of government something’s finally going to change. There’s nothing better than a personal experience to teach people about the sad reality :/.
    In any case: good for Canada.