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Posts posted by deicer

  1. 2 hours ago, Airband said:

    The same as the democrats did when they struck out at the end of the process in the impeachment trial - they moved on.


    Somebody should fill in trump on that idea 😉 (Then again, the $170 million he's pocketed so far from the faithful who thought he was using it for election recounts is just too good to give up, no?)

  2. You have hit on the main point.  It is generational.

    Older people don't accept it because they were brought up being taught that it was a horrible 'drug'.  Yet they openly accept alcohol because it was their 'drug'.  Either way it is self medication.  Science is showing that the benefits of pot are only being discovered.  And overall, it isn't as damaging as alcohol.

    Pot is like racism, anti-LGTBQ, etc.  It takes education and experience to realise that all that you grew up with and understand may not still be relevant in a changing society.

    Heck, Willie Nelson isn't that wrong, is he?

    Willie Nelson - Toby Keith - Scott Emerick - YouTube

  3. 14 hours ago, seeker said:

    It must be my old age or maybe my conservative upbringing but this article angers me.  "Why not sip into something different?"  Why not indeed - maybe because if you ever want to cross the border into the USA you will be either forced to lie (which if discovered would make inadmissible for the rest of your life) or tell the truth (which may make you inadmissible, depending on the mood of the officer).

    It doesn't matter what your personal feelings might be - there are serious implications to choosing to use cannabis products that are never highlighted.

    To quote Heraclitus:  “The only constant in life is change”

    Pot is looked down on because it literally is a weed.  Big pharma et al can't patent it and make big money, that's why they fight against it.

    When it comes to generations, I know more younger adults partake of weed than drink.  It's 'their' thing unlike our generations of alcoholics.  Besides, one way to look at it is you get all the benefits of the warm glow using weed without having to go pee.

    The other issue can be summed up nicely by this meme...


    Booze vs Weed.jpg

    • Like 1
  4. 22 minutes ago, Jaydee said:

    Trudeau has basically bankrupted the country and he could probably slaughter people in the streets and Liberals would support him.

    Sounds just like the guy you support.  Only he hasn't said it out loud.  

    And as it stands, because of his inaction, trump is responsible for over 270,000 deaths and counting and still people support him.

    Trump: I Could Murder and Not Lose Votes

    While bragging about his standing in the national polls, Donald Trump told supporters Saturday at a campaign rally that he could shoot someone and he would still be on top. "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," Trump said.

  5. 48 minutes ago, boestar said:

    if it is so effective.... Wear your mask, stay 6 feet apart and go and do anything you want.  Just wear the mask and stay apart.  EVERYTHING SHOULD BE OPEN.


    Yes, you are right!

    The problem is we are dealing with humanity.  Herding cats is easier.

    Also, while it is doable and enforceable in public, the transmission is caused mainly by 'private' get togethers.  Just look at what are being called 'super spreader events'.  Rallies, weddings, parties.....

  6. The bitter childish behaviour continues right to the end.  All because trump had someone else tell the truth.

    President Donald Trump has not ruled out the possibility of firing Attorney General William Barr, according to an administration official and two people familiar with the matter who also said a sudden departure is not seen as imminent.

    No decision has been made, they told NBC News, but any call would ultimately be up to Trump.


    Barr told The Associated Press on Tuesday that "to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election" — comments that appeared to fly in the face of Trump's baseless and false claims that the election he lost was rigged or that it involved voter fraud.

    Trump is displeased with Barr for appearing to break with him over the claims of voter fraud, these sources said.

    Trump hasn't ruled out firing Attorney General Barr, sources say

    Barr said Tuesday the Justice Department hadn't seen any evidence of fraud that would have changed the election outcome.
    • Like 1
  7. 13 hours ago, st27 said:

    And how did the Trudeau liberals correct this problem in the 5 years that they have been in power?? They must have been aware of this since the article has been out for 12 years. I get tired of governments, especially the current one, blaming previous governments for problems that the current gov’t has failed to correct.

    I will once again state, all politicians are greasy.

    However, I don't agree with your argument that Trudeau is to blame for not having corrected it while in power.  That's not how governments work these days imo.

    Yet, I do see a difference in a government that does nothing as opposed to one that actively works to dismantle existing rights and protections. 

    Those are the ones we shouldn't vote for.

  8. 22 hours ago, mo32a said:

    Sorry for the long post - there was no link...


    Covid Vaccines for Canada- A Sad Story. Introduction I have been closely following the Covid vaccine issue in Canada and felt compelled to write about it. As President and CEO of GlaxoSmithKline Canada for 16 years, I was intimately involved in the production and distribution of the Canadian vaccine for the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. All of the vaccine for that pandemic was produced in the GSK vaccine factory in Quebec City. The campaign, although there were a few glitches, was a tremendous success. The vaccine was developed, rolled out and injected into millions of Canadians in just several months. I give great credit to the Chief Public Health Officer at that time, David Butler-Jones and the Deputy Minister of Health, Morris Rosenberg, for their leadership and collaboration during that pandemic. Millions of doses of Canada’s annual flu vaccine are also produced in the GSK facility in Quebec City. This despite comments by Mr. Trudeau and some of his Ministers that this facility was closed down during the Harper years. So why is Canada lagging the rest of the world in developing and rolling out a Covid vaccine? Why is Canada down the priority list of countries to receive supplies of vaccine? Why does Canada not have the capability to produce vaccine for Covid? The story is a long one. Many mistakes have been made and there has been a real lack of vision particularly by successive Liberal governments, including the current one. The mistakes of the past are now catching up with us. “The chickens have come home to roost.” Let me explain. Recognition of the Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry First I want to say how proud all of us who have worked in the Global Pharmaceutical industry should be. From the outset of this pandemic I believed that it would be our industry that would solve the Covid challenge. It looks like that is coming true with a number of innovative vaccines being developed, tested and approved in less than one year. It is truly a modern miracle of science and a real tribute to the innovative pharmaceutical industry and its people. We are changing the course of history, solving the pandemic and saving million of lives around the world. In many countries we have done that in collaboration and partnership with federal governments. The Canadian Pharmaceutical Industry The issues we are facing today in Canada with respect to having early access to a Covid vaccine have their roots in history which go back 50 years. In 1968 Pierre Trudeau and his government effectively eliminated pharmaceutical patents by implementing a regime of compulsory licensing. The objective was to lower pharmaceutical prices and encourage the establishment of a Canadian domestic industry. It was a massive failure. What it did do was lead to a number of multinational innovative companies immediately closing down their research centres in Canada. It also lead to the creation of a very powerful generic industry that does no innovative research and has now evolved into a commodity business competing globally on price. The generic industry oligopoly emerged with Apotex and Novopharm dominating the landscape. For over 3 decades, under very favourable market conditions for those companies, Canadians ended up paying the highest prices in the world for generic drugs. The owners, Barry Sherman and Leslie Dan went on to become two of the 10 richest individuals in the country. They also became two of the most powerful people in the country by hitching their wagons to the Liberal party of Canada. They were some of the biggest funders of Liberal candidates, MP’S and cabinet Ministers, particularly those in the Toronto area. That allowed them to dramatically influence pharmaceutical policy in Canada in their favour, particularly with respect to patent policy. Where is the domestic generic industry now when we desperately need innovative new medicines and vaccines to deal with Covid? Although the Mulroney and Harper Conservative governments supported the innovative industry by improving the patent (and data protection) landscape, Canada only partially recovered, and to this day does not have globally competitive patent protection for innovative medicines. This regime has led to many brand name pharmaceutical products losing their patent cover and market position early. So why would a company be motivated to invest in a country that does not adequately protect its innovation? Well they aren’t. The pharmaceutical policy environment in Canada for the innovative industry has been quite unfriendly on other fronts as well. Successive Liberal governments of Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chretien and Justin Trudeau have created an environment which has discouraged innovative pharmaceutical investment in research, development and manufacturing in Canada. They have consistently put the Canadian CEO’s of global companies in a weak position to attract investment to Canada from their global corporations. In addition to weaker patent protection compared with other Western countries, Health Canada continues to be one of the slowest regulatory agencies in approving new medications and vaccines. The pricing regime has deteriorated over the years with successive Liberal governments focused on ratcheting down the prices of innovative medicines. In fact, on January 1, 2021 the Trudeau government will enact new PMPRB ( Patented Medicines Pricing Review Board) regulations to drive prices down further. Not a good move during a pandemic when it is that industry that is ultimately going to save your bacon. It is already apparent that these pricing regulation changes will impact when and if new innovative treatments for cancer and other critical diseases will come to Canada. How many more lives will be lost due to a lack of early access to new medicines because Canada is only looking for the best price and doesn’t want to pay for new innovations. Are we going to continue to make the mistakes of the past? Unfortunately Health Ministers, Health bureaucrats and left leaning politicians only see medicines and vaccines as a cost to the health care system. They do not recognize the value those medicines bring to the system in reducing costs in other healthcare silos. Governments have also never recognized the value the industry brings to the innovative economy, despite the fact that Canada continues to lag the world in innovation, and is in real need of upping its game. The last global survey saw Canada slip down the innovation list even further. Pharmaceutical jobs are some of the most high value jobs in the economy. The few politicians who do recognize that value are always shouted down by the Health Ministry and those who just want a lower price. The bottom line is that despite numerous outreach efforts by the industry over the years, successive Liberal governments, including this one, have done little to nothing to create a favourable pharmaceutical policy environment. They have made no effort to work with the innovative industry to encourage a partnership which would deliver tremendous value to the healthcare system and the economy and give Canadians early access to new medicines and vaccines. So, not surprisingly, the industry has gone elsewhere to invest where that positive environment exists. Good examples are the U.S., the U.K. and Europe. It should also come as no surprise that the U.S., with its Operation Warp Speed, lead by the former head of Vaccines for GSK, and its contribution of billions of dollars, is at the head of the line for a Covid vaccine and will begin to vaccinate its population by December. The Pandemic Management Failures of the Trudeau Government. Many want to praise the federal government for all the money they have shovelled out to Canadians during the pandemic. Many of the programs have been very beneficial and truly needed. It’s hard not to be a bit cynical though. It is well known that Liberal governments love to spend money and they love to say “their government” is making all this money available to Canadians. What they fail to say is that it is Canadian taxpayers, our children and grandchildren who are and will be paying for all this spending. And clearly they know that doing so will buy many votes for a long time. For example, why give money to well off seniors? Is it because they care or because it buys seniors’ votes? Governments of all stripes would have and could have done the same in terms of spending billions of dollars rolling out these programs under these circumstances. That is the easy part. That spending should not blind Canadians though to the fact that almost everything else regarding the pandemic has been poorly handled by our federal government. They defunded our pandemic early warning system (GPHIN) which was state of the art globally. It would have warned us early on about Covid. By killing it they were flying blind and couldn’t react soon enough to stop the arrival of the virus. We could have and should have closed the border sooner. Despite all the talk about documenting learnings from the SARS epidemic and the H1N1 pandemic, virtually none of the key learnings seem to have been documented and we have had to re-invent the wheel to a great degree. One of the learnings was to have a stockpile of PPEs and antivirals. I don’t know about antivirals but the current government threw the outdated stockpile of PPE’S in the dumpster in 2019 and did not restock. We then had to scramble to find sufficient new sources and quantities but quickly recognized we had outsourced most of that production to other countries, particularly China. Unfortunately Canada is also experiencing a record number of drug shortages, especially during Covid. Most of our medicines now come from other countries, such as China and India. Will we eventually have to wait in line for many of them as well as we have very little domestic manufacturing left? Do we have any secure sources of supply? During the H1N1 pandemic it was agreed by everyone that Canada should never have just one local supplier of pandemic vaccine. Great idea, but there was no follow up planning to ensure we had vaccine manufacturing capability or secure sources of supply for the next pandemic. And here we are, scrambling for early access to vaccine. Why is it that we can’t have more rapid tests available? The PCR testing is effective and accurate but it is slow and resource intensive. We just don’t have the capacity to do widespread PCR testing. So rapid tests would be very useful in some instances. They are not as accurate but if they were good enough for the NBA and NHL in allowing them to successfully run their seasons, they should be good enough for us. The federal government, in its desire to show Canadians they were doing something about vaccines threw millions of dollars at 3 or 4 Canadian organizations which had never produced a vaccine and had little hope of producing one in time for Covid. None of these will pay off in the near term, if at all. Medicago might be the best hope. One of the first vaccines that the government bet on was the CanSino Chinese vaccine in partnership with the National Research Council, who were supposed to manufacture it. With all of our issues with China why would anyone bet on a partnership for a life saving vaccine with them? It was a dramatic failure as China never delivered the materials for the clinical trial. It went nowhere. It would have been nice to have at least a couple of the new vaccines tested in Canadian clinical trials. Not one of them has been used in a major Canadian clinical trial. We need to ask ourselves why? Is it because of the poor relationship our government has with the key pharmaceutical companies? We now know that Canada should receive about 6 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of March. That means we can begin to vaccinate 3 million people. By that time the U.S. will have vaccinated 110 million people. The Canadian public should, and probably will be, outraged. It appears that many countries are well ahead of us with respect to vaccine access. Countries such as Spain, Mexico, Indonesia, India, Germany, the U.K., etc. As Terrence Corcoran suggests in his opinion piece on Saturday November 28 this is due to Canada’s slow-off-the-mark contact and negotiation with Global Pharmaceutical companies. Government dithered and naively tried to find a way to develop a vaccine in Canada. As a result of our poor positioning on the priority list, the government knows it has a real political problem which could lead to them losing the next election. So the political rhetoric is spinning out of control and Trudeau and his cabinet are out spinning and bending the truth. They are in panic mode and are blaming other countries, pharmaceutical companies, and the Conservatives for our poor position. Dominic Leblanc stated on Power Play on CTV this week that GSK had closed its manufacturing for vaccines during the Harper years which is blatantly false. They have also stated numerous times that Canada has no vaccine manufacturing capability because it left over the last few decades. That is also false. GSK and Sanofi manufacture multiple vaccines in Canadian plants. The NRC also has the ability to manufacture vaccines. Trudeau is now telling Canadians that the hope is that the majority of us should be be vaccinated by the end of September. A few minutes later the deputy public health officer stated that it will probably be the end of 2021 but that “September and the end of the year are in the same ballpark.” And what does “the majority” mean? 50 percent? We are fortunate that the National Vaccine Task Force, made up of prominent experienced research and industry experts made the recommendation to secure contracts with 7 different global pharmaceutical companies. This is one of the few bright spots of the pandemic planning. Why is it that most other Western countries have a detailed plan that they have communicated publicly describing how many doses they expect, how they will distribute them, and who will get them? Meanwhile, we have none of that? In fact, they just appointed someone to plan the rollout. The lack of transparency of the Liberal government is shocking. We clearly do not have a plan yet and we are supposed to obtain approval of the Pfizer vaccine by December. All this to say that much of the pandemic effort at the federal level, except spending money, deserves a failing grade. So one has to ask the question, “How many more people will die in this pandemic who shouldn’t have if the federal government had done a better job over the last year? How much better off would Canada now be if in 1968 the Pierre Trudeau government had had a vision to develop and nurture the innovative pharmaceutical and vaccine industry?” Every month we don’t have a vaccine more people will get sick and more will die. At the current rate that means approximately 2500-3000 deaths every month. Months matter. Days matter. Unfortunately ‘The chickens have come home to roost” and Canadians will pay the price. We reap what we sow. 

    Interesting read.

    However, all governments are to blame, and nothing moves forward for the citizens of our country.  Question is, who did more damage.

    Sorry for another long post.

    October 2008: Prescription for Trouble

    Government’s links to Big Pharma threat to public health
    OCTOBER 1, 2008

    Does anyone remember that the Conservative party, just four years ago, promised to implement a national drug plan? During the 2004 election, with health care a top priority for Canadians, the Conservatives made a commitment of $2.8 billion for a federal program to cover drug costs for individuals who had to pay more than $5,000 a year for their prescription drugs. It was part of a promise to spend a total of $13 billion of new federal money over five years on health care.

    Given the record of the minority Conservative government since it took office, it’s hard to imagine that the Harper Tories once proposed any new federal social program. It runs counter to all that this government has done since January 2006 to undermine the role of the federal government in providing national programs that benefit all Canadians. Conservative policies have ensured a minimalist federal government by implementing massive tax cuts, thereby reducing revenue and leading inevitably to the curtailing of national programs.

    Since October 2007, the Conservative government has committed to $60 billion in tax cuts through to 2012. Corporations in particular have had a bonanza of government support, with tax cuts that will reduce their tax payments by one-third from 2006 to 2012. The most recent budget, last February, further eroded public finances, with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty boasting that he had reduced Canada’s federal taxes to the level they were at 50 years ago. (He didn’t mention that 50 years ago there was no national Medicare, no Canada/Quebec Pension Plan, and no subsidized post-secondary education.)

    In the 2007 Throne Speech, Prime Minister Stephen Harper went further and outlined his government’s intention to legally restrict federal involvement in social programs for all Canadians. “Our government, he said, “will introduce legislation to place formal limits on the use of federal spending power for new shared-cost programs in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction.” This would prevent the federal government from introducing further nation-building programs, such as child care or Pharmacare. It also ignores the reality that provinces have chosen to opt into national programs with federal standards, both to access federal funds and to provide equitable country-wide benefits to everyone. The provinces have not given up jurisdiction over health care, for example, by participating in the national Medicare system.

    In the case of prescription drugs, the provinces have been calling for federal leadership. In 2003, a meeting of First Ministers cited prescription drugs as a problem that needed to be resolved. A year later, the First Ministers from both levels of government established a Ministerial Task Force to develop a national strategy for pharmaceuticals. So, at the time of the election of the minority Conservative government in 2006, a process to increase federal involvement in prescription drugs was already underway, initiated by the provinces.

    But since then the Harper government has withdrawn from its promise to initiate a national drug program, has systematically undermined the capacity of the federal government to implement such a program, and has fallaciously argued that national social programs undermine provincial jurisdiction.

    * * *

    There are two major problems with prescription drugs¬: rapidly rising costs and unequal access. Solving these problems requires federal government involvement.

    The rising cost of drugs is driving provincial and territorial governments to call for federal help. Between 1997 and 2005, expenditure on prescribed drugs by the public sector grew at an average annual rate of 12.2%, sucking money away from other areas of health care and straining provincial budgets. This might be acceptable if these expenditures were cost-effective and appropriate, but they are not.

    The way it works is that a drug company develops a so-called “new” product, which is not actually new. About 85% of all drug approvals by Health Canada are drugs that are the same, or similar, to drugs already on the market, with no therapeutic advantage. It should be noted that drug companies pay for more than half the cost of the approval process at Health Canada; that research on drug safety is not made available to the public or to health professionals; and that, to be approved, a drug need only be better than a placebo, not better than an existing drug. It is hardly an independent, transparent, or cost-effective process.

    These so called “new” drugs are also considerably more expensive than existing brand-name or generic drugs. Why buy more expensive versions which are no more effective? Because of massive marketing and promotion by the drug companies. The big pharmaceutical companies (known collectively as Big Pharma) spend three times more on marketing than on research. It’s not just the advertising bombardment on television and in magazines, but also direct promotion to doctors through sales reps, giveaways, samples, trips to conferences, payment for papers, and so on--an estimated $30,000 per doctor per year.

    Research has shown that marketing is effective in influencing what doctors prescribe. Research has also shown that prescribing less expensive but therapeutically equivalent drugs, either brand-name or generic, would save millions of dollars.

    A huge issue for the provinces is that the federal government has major control over the cost of drugs, but the provinces pay the bills. The federal government approves drugs, regulates price protection for drug companies through patents, and is supposed to control drug advertising. But the feds contribute only 3% of total national expenditure on drugs.

    Big pharmaceutical firms are among the most profitable companies in the world, and they continuously lobby governments to influence policy--in this case, a government that does not pay for the results of its decisions.

    A national drug plan with meaningful federal involvement would rectify this imbalance and give the federal government a reason to bring Big Pharma under tighter control. We need a more rational approval process, stricter controls on advertising, and more independent information for doctors on both research and costs.

    As for access to needed drugs, Canadians are not well served by our patchwork of provincial programs and work-based plans that offer inequitable and/or partial coverage. Getting the drugs you need depends upon where you live and where you work. Some provincial drug programs are more generous than others, and work-based plans vary from one employer to another. Recent public hearings across the country by the Canadian Health Coalition found that many Canadians are in serious difficulty, facing high costs for drugs that they cannot afford.

    Drugs should be a part of our universal health system, as is the case in nearly all other Western countries. Prescription drugs should be publicly provided to all Canadians, with some national standards and federal financial involvement, under provincial administration. There is no reason why this should not be a reality, and it would also be cost-effective. Currently, half of all Canadians are covered by work-based plans through private insurance. This involves thousands of different work-based plans and millions of individual claims that have to be processed. Clearly, a single universal plan would be both more equitable and more cost-efficient. Other countries with national systems use their single-payer buying power to negotiate significantly reduced prices from the drug companies.

    * * *

    One of the most disturbing characteristics of the Harper government is its close personal relationship with corporate interests. Minister of Health Tony Clement, for example, owned a 25% stake in a pharmaceutical chemicals company, Prudential Chem Inc. Even as Health Minister, Clement initially saw no conflict of interest, saying he would simply absent himself from decisions affecting the company. Given that policy affecting pharmaceutical companies is a major part of the operation of Health Canada, Clement’s remarks caused a storm of protest. “It is hard to think of a more flagrant conflict of interest,” was one newspaper comment. “Hardly a week goes by during which Clement does not deliberate over an issue affecting the pharmaceutical industry.”

    After pressure exerted on him, both in and out of Parliament, Clement belatedly transferred his financial stake in the company to the company’s president, with no compensation.

    Similarly, the Harper government appears to be highly responsive to the influence of certain well-known and well placed lobyists for the pharmaceutical industry. In March 2007, for example, the government announced a $300 million fund for the controversial HPV vaccine Gardasil, made by Merck-Frosst Canada. This is the vaccine for young women that allegedly can prevent some types of cervical cancer. There has been criticism that not enough is known about the drug’s long-term effects and that there was no public health crisis warranting such government largesse.

    The funding was provided with remarkable speed. It took just eight months from approval of the drug by Health Canada to the announcement of a $300 million federal contribution for provinces wanting to provide the vaccine to young women. This was no accident. Merck-Frosst hired the big public relations firm Hill & Knowlton to push the immunization approach. Ken Boessenkool, a vice-president at Hill and Knowlton, worked on the vaccine campaign, but, as reported by The Toronto Star, he is also a close friend and advisor to Stephen Harper. He was the architect of the unpopular flat-tax proposal by Stockwell Day and a chief advisor to the Conservatives during the 2004 federal election campaign.

    After his successful involvement in the cancer drug lobby, Boessenkool moved on to register as a lobbyist for Taser International, promoting the controversial police weapon. Such close relationships between lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry and the Conservative government are cause for concern.

    * * *

    It is also discouraging to find, after a review of the record, that Harper`s minority Conservative government has undermined provincial and territorial movement toward a cross-Canada program for prescription drugs.

    In 2004, federal, provincial and territorial First Ministers agreed to work on a national approach to drugs, called the National Pharmaceutical Strategy (NPS). A nine-point list of goals was developed to improve access to drugs, relieve financial hardship, and obtain better value for money. A Ministerial Task Force was established to determine how to implement the goals, with the federal government as co-chair and Quebec as an observer.

    In July 2006, a conference of Ministers of Health released a progress report on the NPS and discussed its future. It was obvious that the process was in trouble when Tony Clement, Harper’s Minister of Health and co-chair of the Task Force, failed to attend the conference. Under Clement’s care, the NPS has languished. Provinces and territories continued working in good faith, but now acknowledge that the NPS can go nowhere without the federal government at the table to provide leadership and discuss the federal contribution. Clement no longer convenes regular meetings of health ministers.

    According to a recent report issued by the Health Council of Canada in June 2008:

    Significant gaps in coverage are still evident across Canada, and too many Canadians are vulnerable to personal hardship from needed drugs that cost more than they can afford. Canadians are also not adequately protected from inappropriate prescribing because we do not have the necessary systems in place to keep health care providers and consumers informed about drug safety and effectiveness. Governments have not made acceptable progress in creating the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy that was promised in 2004.

    Instead of providing leadership to implement the NPS, the Harper government is sabotaging the process by neglect.

    The government is also escalating its support for Big Pharma. Last April, in a blatant move to boost the drug companies’ profits, the government extended their patent protection. Brand-name drug companies already have 20 years patent protection, giving them a monopoly for that period to set prices with no market competition. But they had been extending this protection with court challenges against generic copies that resulted in giving them an automatic two-year patent extension. The generic drug companies contested this artificial extension of the patents, and the Supreme Court agreed with them in a decision in November 2007.

    The Conservative government moved quickly to undermine the Supreme Court decision by proposing amendments to the regulations of Canada’s Patent Act. The changes would allow the drug companies to continue to get automatic injunctions, thereby preventing Health Canada from approving lower-cost generic drugs. The federal government proposed its new regulations on April 26, 2008, with no prior consultation with the provinces or the public and providing just 15 days for comments.

    Provincial governments objected to both the change and the process. New Brunswick asked for further consultation, stating that “delays in accessing those generic drugs will have a direct cost impact on the provincial drug plan.” British Columbia’s Health Minister also asked for an extension to the deadline (which was refused) and said, “One can probably predict that this will not be a happy eventuality for budgeting.” The patent extensions are a multi-million-dollar gift to Big Pharma and an added cost burden to provinces, employer drug plans, and individuals.

    * * *

    The most troubling concession to Big Pharma by the Harper government comes in the form of Bill C-51, which was introduced in the House of Commons on April 8, 2008. The proposed legislation amends the Food and Drugs Act, in essence replacing the entire text on drugs. It is likely to adversely affect both cost and safety by:

    • speeding up drug approvals with lower standards for drug safety and effectiveness;
    • removing barriers to advertising of prescription drugs;
    • restricting access to natural health products;
    • enshrining corporate secrecy about the health effects of drugs; and
    • eliminating liability for regulatory negligence by Health Canada.


    The proposed legislation permits bringing new drugs to market before research on effectiveness and safety are complete. Instead, research on safety would continue after drugs are widely prescribed and used. Usually, post-market studies are carried out by manufacturers. This introduces a bias, as manufacturers have an interest in presenting their products in a positive light, and there are fewer rules to ensure rigorous scientific methods in post-market studies than in pre-market clinical trials. In effect, Canadians will be exposed to drugs that have not been adequately tested.

    This is unacceptable because, even in the current system, drugs are sometimes found to be dangerous. Thalidomide is remembered as one of the most tragic examples. Vioxx was recalled in 2004 in both Canada and the U.S., and is estimated to have caused between 88,000 and 139,000 extra heart attacks in the U.S. Recent research in the U.S. has shown that drugs that are approved faster are more likely to cause problems once on the market than drugs approved under less pressure. This research compared drugs approved under a deadline to speed up the process with drugs approved at other times. The deadlines produced "adverse effects," including more drugs recalled for safety reasons, more drugs later carrying warnings about negative side-effects, and more drugs voluntarily discontinued by the manufacturers. The research concluded that drugs subject to the deadlines "have a higher likelihood of unanticipated safety problems once they are in widespread use." This highlights the need to strengthen, rather than erode, safety standards for approval for marketing.

    Another problem with Bill C-51 is that it will eliminate the current restrictions on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. As it stands, the Food and Drugs Act recognizes that drugs are not the same as clothes or detergents or automobiles. Someone with a grim diagnosis or a seriously ill child needs accurate information about treatment options, not advertising hype that can lead them to less effective, less safe, or more costly products.

    The massive advertising of drugs allowed in the U.S. has added enormously and unnecessarily to drug costs. In Canada, we are bombarded with ads on U.S. television channels, but this should be controlled to comply with our more restrictive legislation. We should strengthen and enforce our controls on drug advertising, not weaken them.

    Third, Bill C-51 would impose severe restrictions on natural health products that are low-risk, while weakening the regulation of prescription drugs. The legislation would give Health Canada officials unprecedented and arbitrary enforcement powers to force natural health products off the market and impose fines up to $5,000,000 on family-owned businesses. Many Canadians rely on natural health products to help prevent disease and illness.

    Fourth, Bill C-51 would enshrine secrecy and commercial confidentiality for the first time in the Food and Drugs Act. It introduces a definition of confidential business information into the Act, so that anything that affects a company’s bottom line may be kept secret. Bill C-51 defines as confidential any information--

    a) that is not publicly available,
    b) in respect of which the person has taken measures that are reasonable in the circumstances to ensure that it remains not publicly available, and
    c) that has actual or potential economic value to the person or their competitors because it is not publicly available and its disclosure would result in a material financial loss to the person or a material financial gain to their competitors.

    In other words, pharmaceutical companies will have the right to keep information secret if it is already secret, if the company is actively keeping it secret, and if making it public could affect their bottom line.

    Access to independent research information is already limited, leaving doctors prescribing drugs on the basis of information from drug companies. This Bill would make the situation worse. Instead of enshrining rights for Canadians and health professionals to information about drugs, Bill C-51 would give drug companies the right to maintain secrecy about key health and safety information, including less than stellar clinical trial results and serious side-effects.

    Last but not least, Bill C-51 would lower the Minister of Health’s “duty of care,” so that Health Canada can evade liability for regulatory negligence when Canadians are harmed by inadequately tested prescription drugs. If this Bill becomes law, Canadians could lose recourse to the courts for claims of regulatory negligence. This is of particular concern, given the lower standards set by other parts of Bill C-51, which increase the likelihood that Canadians will need recourse to the courts.

    Bill C-51 poses a threat to the safety of Canadians. It denies the public's right to information on drug research, adds to the high cost of drugs through advertising, restricts access to natural health products, and reduces the responsibility of Health Canada for protecting our health.

    * * *

    The Canadian Health Coalition has just completed hearings across Canada on the problems of access to affordable prescription drugs. Many Canadians went to the hearings to explain how their health is being put at risk because of the high cost of drugs.

    Stories were told by people seldom heard in the corridors of Parliament Hill, such as Gretta Ross and Tracy Gilles:

    “The burden of a loved one being sick in front of you and going down with dementia is bad enough. Last year we were $6,000 in debt with drug bills. Now we are faced with losing our home. We both worked hard all our lives and I don’t think that’s right.”—Gretta Ross, Sarnia, Ontario.

    “According to the government, we make too much money to qualify for drug coverage. But I don’t know too many people who can take $1,000 a month off their net income and not have it have an effect. I think there’s something wrong. And I also think I’m not unique. We need to start to look at the stories behind the numbers... Generally it’s the sickest of the sick who have to deal with all this stuff. The people who need it the most are the people least able to fight for it. And it is a fight.” -- Tracy Gilles, Charlottetown, PEI.

    Prime Minister Harper and his Minister of Health, Tony Clement, are failing to provide for the well-being of Canadians. They are systematically placing the profits of pharmaceutical companies ahead of the needs of people like Gretta Ross and Tracy Gilles.

    • Thanks 1
  9. 22 hours ago, Malcolm said:

    Only pay out to those who actually need the money instead of glad handing everyone or indeed promising money that has yet to be issued (rent relief, small businesses etc) 

    See, there is something that we agree on.

    I see it that the money goes to the public and small business owners who only plow that money right back into the economy.  

    Now they just have to get the rules right with regards to small business.  I see no problem with small shops opening and only allowing 2-4 people in at a time.  


  10. The problems for trump just keep rolling in. The court ruling is at the bottom of the article.

    Federal Judge Advances Lawsuit Accusing Felix Sater of Laundering Loot Through Trump Properties

    A federal judge on Monday partially advanced a lawsuit accusing Russian mafia-tied businessman Felix Sater of laundering millions stolen from Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank through Trump Organization properties.

    “In this case, Kazakhstan’s largest city and a Kazakhstani bank seek to recover millions of dollars in stolen funds from those who allegedly helped the culprits launder them,” U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan summarized in a 25-page opinion dismissing only two counts of a five-count complaint. “Felix Sater—the alleged ringleader of the money-laundering operation—along with his associate Daniel Ridloff and several business entities they control, move to dismiss.”

    Like Sater, Ridloff was also formerly associated with the Trump Organization. The lawsuit stems from allegations of the systematic looting of Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty and its bank in 2009.


    “The Court emphasizes that the Kazakh entities will need to adduce evidence showing the Sater defendants’ deceptive conduct and their justifiable reliance on that conduct in significantly greater detail to meet their burdens of production and of proof as the case progresses,” Nathan wrote. “However, at this stage, the Court concludes that it is not clear on the face of the complaint that their claims are untimely, and so declines to dismiss any claims on that basis.”

    Almaty’s attorney Matthew Schwartz, from the firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, expressed his gratitude to the judge for today’s ruling.

    “BTA Bank and the City of Almaty are committed to holding Mukhtar Ablyazov and his co-conspirators responsible for the theft and laundering of billions of dollars, and look forward to proving their case before a jury of New Yorkers,” Schwartz said.

    The lawsuit that the ruling advances, however, accuses Sater of helping the Almaty mayor’s son Ilyas Khrapunov launder stolen funds in at least five schemes throughout the United States, including through Trump Soho.

    “Sater not only met with Ilyas Khrapunov in Trump Tower to discuss laundering the stolen funds, but he also personally arranged meetings between Ilyas and Donald J. Trump to discuss possible investments,” the first amended complaint against Sater states.

    According to the lawsuit, there was also a proposal to funnel money through Trump Tower Moscow, before that plan fell apart around the time of the 2016 presidential election.

    “Among other proposed investments, Sater conspired with Ilyas to invest the stolen funds to develop a Trump Tower project in Russia, which Sater has claimed would have been a ‘high-rise, high-end development that could make a significant amount of money,'” the lawsuit states.

    “The knowing receipt of stolen funds in furtherance of a money-laundering scheme, in the circumstances of this case, amounts to a sufficiently close connection to support a claim for unjust enrichment,” the ruling states. “The Court therefore concludes that the Kazakh entities have stated such a claim.”

    Judge Nathan dismissed two counts of fraud and unlawful means conspiracy, but not others alleging unjust enrichment, conversion and money had and received.