Stephen Harper's Minister for Health. Or, anyone in his cabinet, really.
Stephen Harper doesn’t believe in socialized medicine and he damn sure doesn’t want it scaled up to address the needs of 75,000 Canadians suffering with MS, even if doing so would save the government millions very quickly.
After all, if that same socialized medicine is seeing to it that the provinces are spending 20,000 – 50,000 per patient per year to pay for MS drugs of very limited effect, well- that’s exactly the kind of transfer from the public purse to wealthy transnational corporations ( Big Pharma, to you and me) that puts Stephen to bed a happy boy every night.
That’s what we can take from yesterday’s announcement that the Canadian government will do exactly fuck-all for MS patients in Canada, other than pay a team of advisors to “monitor the situation” around CCSVI research.
I did a fair bit of media work yesterday, reacting to the news, and the key point I tried to make with it all is that yesterday’s news is a big win for the pharmaceutical companies, who already are doing a brisk 13 billion dollar a year business selling immunomodulators to people in the first stages of the disease. They can expect to ride an incredibly lucrative growth industry for years to come if they can only keep competing therapies out of reach. And given that their corporate-friendly associates in Ottawa are calling the shots, I predict we will be among the very last countries in the world to allow MS patients to have their veins unblocked.
The minister says her decision was taken under the advice of the head of the Canadian Institute of Health Research, which, under the direction of its current head, might better be called the Institute for the Ongoing Promotion of Pharmaceutical Research. Check his astonishingly close ties with Big Pharma on this handy CCSVI locator page — might require a login first but well worth your 30 secs to sign up; this is THE cutting edge site for breaking news on CCSVI.
First to reach me for reaction was Sandra Abma from CBC Ottawa, who brought radio producer Kate Porter along for a joint interview that we did in the Herb and Spice shop across the street from my workplace. A segment It got included in their evening newcast – audio of the piece is here.
Carol Anne Meehan of CTV Ottawa interviewed me for their six o’clock news; as of today only ( Sept. 2) the video is here, sixth headline below the video player. ( “Ottawa Man Reacts”). Audio can be heard here if you miss the video sell-by date.
We also made the front page of the Ottawa Sun this morning with this story by Justin Sadler, who has done solid work on the CCSVI file from the outset.