Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's Why I Subscribe

To borrow a line from one of my favourite Shakespearean plays, Macbeth, "So fair and foul a day I have not seen."

It is fair because the newspaper I subscribe to and heartily endorse, The Toronto Star, has achieved a victory whose significance cannot be overestimated. Thanks to its investigative series into Health Canada's scandalous and potentially life-threatening negligence in overseeing drug safety, Health Minister Rona Ambrose, has finally acted:
Health Canada has banned the import of all drugs and drug ingredients made by two Apotex factories in Bangalore, India, with Health Minister Rona Ambrose saying Tuesday night that the trust between the regulator and the Toronto-based drug company has been “broken.”

Despite that action, long in coming, there are no plans to recall any of the 30 suspect drugs manufactured at the plants, drugs that include
a generic form of Viagra, the antibiotic azithromycin, and other drugs made to treat hypertension, dementia, high blood pressure, asthma, convulsions and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Not surprisingly, the information that led to the decision was taken from the FDA database, which is fully transparent and accessible to the public.

So what is foul? Two things:

One, had it not been for the tenacity of The Star, Health Canada would have continued to give its imprimatur to potentially life-threatening drugs, thereby egregiously failing in one of the most important aspects of its mission.

Two, despite the significance of the scandal, and despite the fact that it provoked some intense questioning from the NDP in The House of Commons, no other media outlets reported the story to my knowledge, not even the CBC, our putative national broadcaster.

Why the silence? One can only speculate, but I do intend very soon to write a letter to the CBC to ascertain the reason. Some might link it to the Corporation's policy of appeasement, about which I have written previously.

I will let you know if I get any response from the CBC.


  1. It's heartening to know that journalism can still serve the cause of Justice, Lorne.

    1. The Star consistently outperforms its competitors in that regard, Owen. I wish such journalism were the rule, as of old, rather than the contemporary exception.