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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...

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...