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The looming epidemic of overdiagnosis

The looming epidemic of overdiagnosis

Nov 2, 2016

Where are the leaders in eliminating waste in health system spending? DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels   • Lately, I’ve got overdiagnosis on my mind. Currently, we’re living through a perceived doctor shortage in BC, a crisis affecting as many as 600,000 British Columbians. In 2010, the governing BC Liberals promised that, within five years, everyone in...

Leave our prostates alone

Leave our prostates alone

Oct 6, 2016

Healthcare must engage in a wider discussion about preventive medicine DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels   • “Preventive medicine displays all three elements of arrogance…Aggressively assertive…Presumptuous…Overbearing.” Dr. David Sackett wrote those words over a decade ago in a neat little column in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. He was, in...

Hoodwinked by the diabetes industry

Hoodwinked by the diabetes industry

Sep 1, 2016

Drugs to lower blood sugars don’t do much for your health DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels   • In the last five years in British Columbia, taxpayers – that would be you and I – spent over $100 million on drugs and insulins for type-2 diabetes through our Pharmacare program. In addition, people in BC probably spent another $200 million out of their own...

The growing backlash against medical guidelines

The growing backlash against medical guidelines

Jul 15, 2016

Doctors need to “show more spine” DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels   • The disease-creation machine continues to creep forward, threatening to consume even more of us healthy people. Consider these recent news items: – Americans, we are told, are facing an epidemic of heart disease. New cholesterol guidelines suggest that virtually the entire...

Concocted war on drug industry another Wag the Dog

Concocted war on drug industry another Wag the Dog

Jun 2, 2016

BC Liberals can’t afford a real war against Pharma so they’ll fake one   DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels • In the 1997 political satire film Wag the Dog, Anne Heche, playing an advisor to the US president, turns to Robert De Niro, another presidential aide and whispers, “We can’t afford a war.” De Niro waves his hand and replies confidently,...

Pharma’s predatory scare tactics

Pharma’s predatory scare tactics

May 7, 2016

They have no place in Canadian universities DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels • Wandering the halls of a college or university campus can be enlightening in seeing how the pharmaceutical marketing machine is insinuating itself into the lives of young people. Last month, while giving a public lecture at the University of Victoria, I spotted a glossy poster entitled,...

Proton pump inhibitors pose some very serious risks

Proton pump inhibitors pose some very serious risks

Apr 1, 2016

Think twice about taking heartburn drugs DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels • Warning: this column is for people who are taking (or have been offered) heartburn drugs or are considering treatment for heartburn. In other words: most of us. If you develop heartburn or ulcers, there is a good chance you’ll be offered a prescription from the most effective – and...

Big Data is spying on our doctors

Big Data is spying on our doctors

Mar 1, 2016

Collected information helps sway doctors to prescribe certain drugs DRUG BUST by Alan Cassels • People often ask me if, given my research on pharmaceuticals, I could tell them why every time they go to the doctor, they always end up with another prescription. It’s impossible to answer that in a sound bite because many factors drive prescribing, including...

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...