Yesterday I wrote a post expressing real pleasure that The Toronto Star is enjoying such a wide readership and profitability, given the important work that it does on a number of levels.
Although evidence of that work is found in pretty much every edition of the paper, today's seems particularly noteworthy for its potential impact.
First, as a result of an investigation by the paper into the harmful effects, including strokes, convulsions, depression and suicide on children being treated with drugs for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, today we learn the following:
Health Canada has detailed records of probes into ADHD drug safety, including fatalities, that it is keeping secret from the public.
Every six months to a year, drug companies submit summaries of side effects suspected to have been caused by their drugs worldwide, information Health Canada says it evaluates.
These summaries, called periodic safety update reports, are not available to the public.
Because these reports contain “proprietary information,”, the public is denied potentially life-saving information. It would seem that government does not want to deny any opportunity for big-pharma profits, even if it leads to disability or death.
Expect more to come from The Star's efforts on this file.
Next, again as a result of publicity generated by The Star, an Iranian woman facing deportation to her home country is being allowed to present new evidence of the peril she faces if sent back. This new chance comes to Fatemeh Derakhshandeh Tosarvandan despite the new law passed by the Harper regime prohibiting failed asylum claimants from obtaining a risk assessment within a year after their claim is rejected.
This seems appropriate, since in severing ties with Iran, the Canadian government cited its abuse of human rights.
And finally, there is the ongoing saga at Toronto City hall, where The Star, persona non grata to the Ford administration, reports how that administration interfered with the process for citizen appointments to 120 city boards and agencies [which] included an attempt to stop staff from targeting “diverse” candidates in recruitment ads.
All in all, not a bad day's work at Canada's largest-circulation newspaper.