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Drug Review Will Threaten Lives

The revamping of the current Canadian drug review process in British Columbia could put the safety of some Canada drugs into question and even place lives at risk, according to Michael McBane, the national coordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition. “The new review process will actually threaten people’s lives with dangerous new drugs brought onto the market with greater speed and no independent checks on whether there’s harm caused by the drugs,” he was quoted as saying.

McBane is fearful that the new review process might spell the end for the Canadian drug advisory body, Therapeutics Initiative, due to a recommendation for a new drug resource committee, despite the body’s proven efficacy. “It’s a sad day that BC had the best drug review process in Canada and it was a model for other provinces, and in fact we were in the process of advocating the adoption of the methodology used by Therapeutics Initiative in Vancouver – we were advocating that to be the gold standard for other provinces.” McBane is also deeply concerned by a memo from deputy health minister John Dyble, which recommended reduced times for the approval of new Canada drugs and more involvement by drug company sponsors. McBane isn’t the only one worried by that, with drug policy researcher Allan Cassels also deeply disturbed by the suggestion. “Allowing conflicted people to be part of the process is something we don’t tolerate in other aspects of our society,” Cassels points out. “Why would we allow people with conflicts of interest to be part of decision making on something that affects four million British Columbians in a very serious way, because they swallow the stuff”

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