Sunday, September 16, 2007

Medicare--Publicly-funded & Publicly-delivered--For Now!

Canadian peoples continue to state their political will for Medicare--a publicly-funded and publicly-delivered system. Social enterprises must be not-for-profit, otherwise the people receiving service become the “fodder for profit”. Intuitively the Canadian peoples’ life experienced wisdom tells us that healthcare, most especially, must not be allowed to make of us – a raw resource for profit.

I do appreciate that as an earnest, hard-working, intelligent, responsible young man with a very difficult, highly complex and stressful job to do that you (Prime Minister Harper) would naturally seek out professionals who are experts in their field to advise you in your decision-making. So I would like to suggest to you how to go about deciding on who best to listen to and to what degree.

1. The most important thing is to have anyone advising you to reveal all their financial associations. This is a critical step!
2. Have faith! There are exceptionally qualified, medical researchers who have never accepted remuneration from PhRMA (pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers). They are abundant in the “alternative” healthcare industry, which is admirably resistant to PhRMA incentives, while fighting to continue to provide valid, healthcare options to their consumers of service.
3. The established medical industry is a for-profit industry founded on expensive drugs and surgery. There will always be a place for this format for medicine. But, objective science suggests that its appropriate niche is actually quite small due to its propensity; accept in exceptional circumstances, to create more disease than it cures.
4. The CMA is only one medical organisation. The American experience should alert us to the fact that professional arrogance can falsely lead established peer groups into accepting financial gifts from corporate--with a view that this could never demean their integrity. I suggest the professional experience of Dr. Loren Mosher (now deceased) is an excellent example of the pitfalls inherent in professional hubris.
5. The “best practices” regime founded on balanced and evidence-based research by established (corporate) medicine is invariably and readily discernible as PhRMA-paid research. Rewards for submissive compliance to PhRMA demands has already permeated every medical sector--beginning with education. In consequence, verification of all supporting research is absolutely necessary to avoid the direct-to-legislator advertisement.

There really oughta be a law against it! For example: The 1994 edition of the psychiatry profession’s single most influential guideline, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, was recently found to have been written by a panel of experts among whom 56% had at least one financial relationship with a pharmaceutical manufacturer. For experts writing guidelines for severe mental illness such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia — diagnoses that have been broadened significantly in recent years — 100% had ties to drug-makers, according to the study, which was published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. MELISSA HEALY (journalist), “From Funding to Findings,” Los Angeles Times,6 August 2007.

Prime Minister Harper, I urge you to enforce the Canada Health Act and to investigate public solutions to strengthen Medicare with holistic healthcare options to PhRMA.


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