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Prescribed opioid drug abuse in Canada

Prescribed opioid drug abuse in Canada

Feb 1, 2016

DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels • Calvin, the central character of my column this month, is a nice, hard-working guy who could be anyone’s relative. But he’s not a real person; he’s a composite I created out of several people whose stories I have followed over the years. In this scenario, he’s a 32-year-old carpenter who had a minor accident a few years ago...

Nine cheeky ideas for books on medicine

Nine cheeky ideas for books on medicine

Jan 1, 2016

DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels •  Looking forward to a fresh new year of reporting from the underbelly of health and drugs, many ideas rush to mind. Surely another book is in the works? To start the year out right, here’s nine new, tongue-in-cheek ideas for books on health and pharmaceutical subjects that I think need a full airing. Let me ask you this: which...

Are three pills better than two?

Are three pills better than two?

Dec 1, 2015

The obsessive drive for lower blood pressure targetsis mostly a scam DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels • What if being made to worry causes you to take more drugs, make more doctor visits and become more obsessive about your health, but doesn’t help you live a longer or better life? Would that be good medicine? I wouldn’t think so. One of the many...

Drug expiry dates – are they ever too old?

Drug expiry dates – are they ever too old?

Nov 1, 2015

DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels • The people’s briefing note on prescription drugs   A little while ago I was talking to a physiotherapist who asked me if I was taking anything for some joint pain I was having. I pulled out a bottle of acetaminophen – also known as Tylenol – and she took the bottle from me. “Alan,” she asked, with a...

Sex, drugs and a rockin’ beat

Sex, drugs and a rockin’ beat

Oct 1, 2015

Big Pharma’s marketing machine DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels • Since we’re now welcoming new readers in Ontario, I thought I’d tap into a topic that is sexy (not to mention timely and urgent), relates to drugs (the pharmaceutical kind) and has the unmistakable rockin’ beat of the pharmaceutical industry’s marketing machine. So, in this column, I’m...

Pharma’s banking on your allergies

Pharma’s banking on your allergies

Sep 7, 2015

Are patient groups actually representing the interests of patients? DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels • Who says “near death” experiences don’t pay? Welcome to the crazy world of ‘emergency capitalism’ where a rare – but sometimes life threatening – condition is turned into a very lucrative market with the help of skilful fearmongering,...

New cholesterol-lowering drugs coming

New cholesterol-lowering drugs coming

Aug 1, 2015

Watch for the sleight-of-hand • DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels • If your aim in life is pursuing truth, one of the things you might want to study is why deception is so common in life. – American magician Eugene Burger Magicians are experts at directing our attention – basically manipulating and managing our perceptions. Maybe people like magic so much...

How media disappears bad news about HPV vaccines

How media disappears bad news about HPV vaccines

Jul 2, 2015

Where have all the guinea pigs gone? Some healthcare professionals see this as a serious problem • DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels   • Anyone who discusses vaccines needs to put their perspectives right up front. Here are mine: polarized positions and extreme views are not helpful. Burying inconvenient truths is not helpful. Nor is accusing people of being...

Overprescribing common among elderly

Overprescribing common among elderly

May 1, 2015

Some healthcare professionals see this as a serious problem DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels • If you plan on getting old, or are looking after someone who is old, you need to be ready for one stark reality of medical care in the elderly: it involves a lot of drugs. Anyone who looks after senior citizens says the same thing: any new ache, pain or concern often...

Informed consent

Informed consent

Apr 1, 2015

Take the ‘Kingdom of Alanastan’ statins quiz DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels • If you haven’t heard the term “informed consent” before, it’s time you did. This term implies that anytime a medical treatment is offered to you, it must be explained in sufficient detail – as to its possible benefits and harms – so you can make a fully informed...