To: Canada's Opposition Parties & Like Minded Liberals

Corporate Capture of Pharmacare

We are upset with the improper and unethical manner in which are democratic institutions are being captured and decisions handed over to Industry lobbyists in Canada. This move by Minister Jean-Yves Duclos to invite industry to direct the proposed Pharmacare plan is wrong. We elect politicians to lead and protect the public good.

On October 24, 2017, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur (SR) on the right to health, Dainius Pūras, presented his report on corruption to the UN General Assembly. He told his audience, “In many countries, health is among the most corrupt sectors; this has significant implications for equality and non-discrimination “... He noted some are related to the global pharmaceutical industry and others from “institutional corruption” and emphasized the “normalization” of corruption in healthcare which includes practices undermining medical ethics, social justice, transparency and effective healthcare provision, as well as illegal acts. Many researchers and scholars support the SR’s findings and note how the corporatization of medical practice has contributed to this situation and the loss of medical professional autonomy.
Big Pharma lobbying soared after Liberals and NDP promised progress on pharmacare, Bulowski N, Nat Observer 2023-02-15:

“Thanks for this important article. Recently, federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos appointed Thomas Digby, a pharmaceutical investor and legal advisor to the industry, to head up the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board. Digby’s work over the last 25 years has been to support Pharma’s efforts to make massive profits, especially by extending patent rights and ensuring countries uphold this awful international stranglehold on our ability to produce and access needed and affordable medicines. Digby, for example, urged Canada to oppose the TRIPS Waiver on the COVID vaccine because our #1 job is to defend and uphold patent rights, not access to the vaccine during this pandemic. So people like Rowan Burdge who now are struggling with an out-of-control pricing system for essential medicines like insulin likely will be in for an even more difficult future. Independent Voices for Safe & Effective Drugs has protested about this appointment.”

After pharma lobbying, minister intervened to suspend drug-price reform, Crowe K, The Breach 2023-02-22:

Prof. Matthew Herder: Dalhousie Professor Quits Federal Panel, McPhee J, The Chronicle Herald 2023-02-24

Douglas Clark: Director of Canada’s drug price regulator resigns same week as colleague steps down, Armstrong L, CP 2023-02-24:

Why is this important?

Medicine has lost its way and medicine is now controlled by shareholder values. There are no medical sleuths searching for the root cause of disease. Shareholders are not interested in cures, new antibiotics or vaccines. The paradigm of modern medicine is to palliate with treatments that provide life-time annuities to shareholders. How about some cures? Canadians not only want lower drug prices but also want to see that the public good is being protected and medicine is being directed by science, not dogma and industry lobbyists.

Reforms are needed within PHAC which is presently headed by two infectious disease doctors [not public health] who have cozy ties with with private medical societies and the insurance industry.