Pharmaceutical lobbyist backed former NDP health critic… What??

UPDATE Sep 19, 2013:  A reader sent us a story about the pharmaceutical industry’s influence on the media, helping to hide the fact that prescription drugs often cause violent outbursts, such as the recent Navy Yard shooting. We’ve added the story to the end of this article because it illustrates why we should be very concerned about how far and thoroughly the tentacles of the pharmaceutical industry have spread, and about their influence on our politicians and the hazardous effects on our society and our lives.
How much of the resident-on-resident violence we are hearing about lately in nursing homes might also be caused by the drugs being given to the residents?
Scroll down to read “Media Buries Psychiatric Drug Connections to Navy Shooter” after reading our feature story below.

Pharmaceutical lobbyist backed former NDP health critic… What??


We are truly surprised (and disappointed) to learn that one of the stars of the B.C. NDP had a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist working as a key organizer of his 2011 party leadership campaign.

Several years ago, many of us advocating against elder abuse woke up to the unpleasant reality that the NDP, both provincially and federally, were unwilling to do little more than utter platitudes in the media and publish glossy reports about elder abuse – largely ignoring elder abuse committed by health care providers and public agencies.

The Sep 13, 2013 issue of the weekly Vancouver paper, Georgia Strait reports that lobbyist Marcella Munro was working for Mike Farnworth, the former B.C. NDP Health critic, a close runner-up to opposition leader Adrian Dix in the 2011 NDP leadership race. Mr. Farnworth is now NDP Finance critic and a top contender to replace Mr. Dix as part of the fall-out from the NDP defeat in the May 2013 provincial election in B.C.

Marcella Munro is with the Earnscliffe Strategy Group, and is a registered lobbyist for Rx&D, formally known as “Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies”, as well as a lobbyist for major players in the fish farming, pesticide and natural gas industries. She also lobbies directly for GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., and Eli Lilly.

Rx&D is the main lobby group in Canada for pharmaceutical companies whose stated objectives are “improving patient access” to drugs and “strengthening their competitive investment environment”.

Our experience and investigations have shown that the B.C. NDP, including their recent leaders (Adrian Dix, Carole James), former Health critic (Mike Farnworth), Seniors critic (Katrine Conroy) and Justice critic (Leonard Krog) as well as MLAs (Lana Popham, Norm Macdonald, and newly-elected David Eby in his former position as president of the BC Civil Liberties Association), took actions to ignore and/or cover up abusive, unlawful and even criminal conduct by health care providers and government agencies brought to their attention by the public.

We attribute this reprehensible conduct largely to the NDP’s strong union base. The former head of the B.C. Hospital Employees Union (HEU), Judy Darcy, won a seat for the B.C. NDP in the May 2013 election, and has now been appointed as the opposition party’s Health critic. Health care unions are formidable in their defense of their organizational power and of the misconduct of their members, just as private sector companies aggressively pursue marketplace domination and profits. Unions have proven to be no more defenders of the public good than are corporations. They each have vested interests, especially in the upper echelons, that often run counter to the well being of individuals.

Anyone who is aware of the B.C. Liberal government’s relentless dismantling of British Columbia’s world-renowned drug safety research group Therapeutics Initiative (TI), not to mention B.C. having the dismal distinction of being a world leader in the rate of dangerous antipsychotic drugs administered to seniors, would know that Rx&D has been actively and openly lobbying for the dismantling of TI, as well as promoting the widespread and indiscriminate drugging of seniors, especially in residential care facilities. Did Health critic Mike Farnworth not recognize his sordid complicity in this?

The NDP have long professed to be strong supporters of the Therapeutics Initiative group. Apparently those were just words. Recruiting a lobbyist for pharmaceutical companies to organize the leadership campaign of the NDP’s former Health critic and potential leader speaks louder than the hollow NDP words uttered for public consumption and deception. Most of the people who voted for the B.C. NDP in the 2013 election probably still don’t understand that the NDP are not what they purport to be.

We should not assume that the NDP will change from being the party of union power to a party of the people. The fine legacy of Tommy Douglas, David Lewis, Ed Broadbent and Jack Layton is nowhere in evidence now.

To add balance, while this is a criticism of the NDP, we need to acknowledge that the other mainstream parties are behaving no better in addressing the shocking assault on seniors occurring right across our country.

Knowledge. Compassion. Courage. Action.

Take a stand against institutional elder abuse.  



Media Buries Psychiatric Drug Connection to Navy Shooter

Paul Joseph Watson | | September 18, 2013
Networks don’t want to risk losing $2.4 billion in ad revenue from pharmaceutical giants

Despite every indication that Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis was on SSRI drugs that have been linked to dozens of previous mass shootings, the mainstream media has once again avoided all discussion of the issue, preferring instead to blame the tragedy on a non-existent AR-15 that the gunman didn’t even use.

We now know that Alexis “had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems.” …  Across the medical industry, “treatment” is the code word for psychiatric drugging.”

Alexis also suffered from PTSD, blackouts and anger issues – all of which are treated with SSRI drugs. The most common form of treatment for PTSD is Paroxetine, which is listed as the number 3 top violence-causing drug by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP).

The Navy Yard shooter was clearly on some form of psychiatric drug, but the media has shown no interest in discovering its identity.

Despite it being reported that prescription drugs were found in the apartment of ‘Batman’ shooter James Holmes days after the Aurora massacre, it took nine months to find out exactly what those drugs were. Like Columbine killer Eric Harris, Holmes had been taking Zoloft, another SSRI drug linked with violent outbursts.

The length of time it took to find out that Holmes was on Zoloft was partly because the media habitually shows zero interest in pursuing the link between anti-depressants and violence.

As the website SSRI Stories profusely documents, there are literally hundreds of examples of mass shootings, murders and other violent episodes that have been committed by individuals on psychiatric drugs over the past three decades. The number of cases is staggering.

Why is the corporate media so disinterested in pursuing this clear connection?

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the pharmaceutical giants who produce drugs like Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil spend around $2.4 billion dollars a year (2011, Forbes) on direct-to-consumer television advertising every year. By running negative stories about prescription drugs, networks risk losing tens of millions of dollars in ad revenue.

… (more)  ♦♦♦

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  1. PHARMA LOBBYIST & NDP… I’m not surprised by this at all. We tried to get help everywhere when my aunt was being drugged in a nursing home and the NDP didn’t help us. They’re only there to help themselves.

    Comment by Gerry — September 20, 2013 @ 6:17 am

  2. PHARMA LOBBYIST & NDP… I’ve been saying this all along, that some members of the NDP inner core were likely bought stooges. If Big Parma is in there, so is Big Oil, Monsanto and Cargill represented You can be sure it’s worse in the Libs and Cons–but don’t think that the Greenies haven’t been invaded, either. Doesn’t the Sierra Club sometimes kiss a little corporate butt, too? It sure seems like it. I’ve read some of Heyman’s stuff from a while back, and it sure seemed a little off at times.

    We need to clean house and get rid of corporate louses and get back to CCF socialism with new environmental basics. Sustainable BC.


    Comment by Sue M. — September 20, 2013 @ 7:50 am

  3. PHARMA LOBBYIST & NDP… I am so happy that the truth came out, I was just organizing my thoughts and had decided that I would become an NDP supporter here in Ontario. I guess the inportance of doing my homework and making sure that our Politicians are honest and ethical… This is insulting and worst for me because it’s the NDP! WOW, this just blows my mimd! On the Psychiatric drug issue, this is BIG dollars, Long Term Care Homes are probably the biggest legal pushers of these drugs. These Psychiatric drugs ARE killing our Mothers and Fathers and are being used as chemical restraints to save money for not hiring more staff. As a young man I can remember watching the movie, one flew over the cuckoo’s nest, where McMurphy has a criminal past and has once again gotten himself into trouble with the law. To escape labor duties in prison, McMurphy pleads insanity and is sent to a ward for the mentally unstable. Once here, McMurphy both endures and stands witness to the abuse and degradation of the oppressive Nurse Ratched, who gains superiority and power through the flaws of the other inmates. McMurphy and the other inmates band together to make a rebellious stance against the atrocious Nurse. I really never understood this movie as a young man, I certainly do now! CANADA, STOP YOUR ABUSE AGAINST OUR MOTHERS AND FATHERS NOW!!!! STOP THE DRUGGING AND KILLING OF OUR LOVED ONES!!!!

    Comment by Roger Chlette — September 20, 2013 @ 9:33 am

  4. PHARMA LOBBYIST & NDP… My son died from negligence and incompetence at the hands of three doctors in our local hospital. Although I had voiced my objections, he was prescribed ABILIFY due to his diagnosis of Bi Polar disorder. After only 6 months he attempted to take his own life by taking all available meds he had. I have learned that this drug does cause suicidal thoughts and I wonder why they would even prescribe it for Bi Polar people. I firmly believe the pharmaceutical companies are giving “perks” to the doctors for prescribing these drugs. After being hospitalized for this, the two doctors proceeded to prescribe the drug HALDOL even after being told not to by “Poison Control” and consequently he ended up having to be held down by 8 people and physically and chemically restrained for over 4 days. This was a direct result of being given this drug. Unfortunately he developed a blood clot and this was miss diagnosed by the doctor even though he had all the symptoms. He died 30 minutes after being moved from ICU. Besides routinely prescribing these drugs to control patients, many of our doctors are incompetent and many people are being harmed in all areas of government healthcare including hospitals and nursing homes. The general public is not aware of how bad it is until something happens to them and when it does these criminals are well protected by our government and the average Canadian has no rights. No one is held accountable. You are left to deal with the betrayal of your government and the grief all on your own. We need to take a stand together and stop these pharmaceutical companies and doctors from harming people.

    Comment by mary-lou patey — September 20, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

  5. PHARMA LOBBYIST & NDP… keep up the good work! to my mind, the seniors-at-risk coalition is doing urgently important work not only for seniors but for all members of society. when vested interest and pocket lining influences the nature of healing itself the society as a whole is trouble.its important that the message be broadcast and revealed to the greater good.political leadership is no longer representing us and our well being and failure to act and change this situation is shameful and unacceptable- keep up the good work! nm

    Comment by Nick — September 21, 2013 @ 6:35 am

  6. PHARMA LOBBYIST & NDP… Although appalled, I am not surprised. Big money drives many things in our society, unfortunately including all aspects of health. I am not surprised the NDP is guilty of covering this up or ignoring it. I think all political parties are guilty of doing this. None truly represent the interests of the average Canadian anymore.

    For years I’ve known the dangers of SSRI medications. I believe they do help a small minority of people – or seem to, but I also believe they do more damage than good generally and should be banned for this reason.

    In the case of the Navy yard shooter, this is obviously a young man having very traumatic problems because of what he was subjected to in the military. But do they help him? No. Instead they drug him up in hope that he will once again be a “good soldier.” So in other words, they’re using young people like disposable people – tossing them aside when they have problems after serving their country. This is a far cry from the way Second World War vets were treated after the war. This alone shows the huge shift in government’s attitude toward ordinary people in general. The issue of abuse by the government through military is a whole huge issue aside from this issue about senior abuse through medications.

    Psychotropic drugging should NEVER be used in a care facility, especially on seniors!! It is just done to shut them up. This is easier than trying to trouble-shoot problems. It creates a living hell for the poor senior, trying to live out his/her life; and for the families who don’t understand why their loved ones are behaving as they are.

    No government cares – regardless of affiliation. It is up to voters to MAKE them care, or not receive our votes. One day we will all be seniors – including these policy makers – if we’re lucky enough to stay alive that long.

    Comment by Sydney — September 21, 2013 @ 7:23 am

  7. PHARMA LOBBYIST & NDP… I always wondered why the media never mentioned that anti-psychotic drugs actually cause violent outbursts, anxiety, depression, agitation and the like. Are they just as bought as the politicians? If we complain, we either get cover-ups by doctors, nursing homes, hospitals and the government, or they attack people who raise concerns to try to discredit the person or their family. So it’s no good talking to doctors or nurses. They don’t really “care”, they just try to fool the public into thinking that they do. They spend a lot on public relations to make themselves look good.
    It’s no secret that these drugs cause such dreadful harm. It’s not as if the health care system or the media or the politicians don’t know or couldn’t find this out for themselves, anybody can look up the National Institute of Health website and see this. Even the manufacturers of these drugs admit to these side effects. It’s horrible, yet the government won’t do a thing about this matter. I guess we know why now. Meanwhile millions of dollars are spent supposedly trying to figure out what’s wrong with the health care system, and moaning about how we can’t afford to care for seniors anymore. If the doctors stopped prescribing all these expensive and dangerous drugs, we’d save millions of dollars and have healthier seniors and far less violence. Time for the public to wake up. We’re being royally screwed.

    Comment by paradiseLost — September 21, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

  8. PHARMA LOBBYIST & NDP… One possible solution would be to free up the provincial monopoly on healthcare that denies Canadians choices. That requires POLITICAL action. There is only one party advocating the removal of the inefficient and coercive monopoly health care system — and that is the Libertarian Party. Virtually every other developed nation has a two-tier system. Only Canada and Eire come to mind as nations stuck on state socialist health care so everyone gets the same low quality and the rich clog the queue as well. I’ll bet that even in North Korea pay as you go options are available. Heck, the wealthy in Cuba can jump the queue, thereby making it faster for others. Without a fundamental change in government policy we are just spinning our wheels.

    I get almost all of my medical services overseas (no, not in USA, I am on a budget — working in Malaysia, India etc) so I don’t have to stand in line and be rationed. So, *I* can decide what to do with my body instead of bureaucrats and civil servant doctors.

    But, I commiserate, my mother is in a residential care facility run by the tax-funded hospital system in Canada [yet she pays 70(?)% of her income]. She is stuck where there is a low medical staff to resident ratio. I have to constantly advocate on her behalf and fight with the staff over proper and timely nursing care. At least four resident’s families got so fed up they provide most of the care themselves (at no discount).

    Typically there is no nurse, or in fact any staff, at the nurses’s station, staff are not available and no one is in uniform so we family members have to memorize faces in the changing staff to know whether we are talking to a care aid, Registered Nurse or just an L.P.N.

    The only solution I can see is a complete gutting of the system: and that includes no union labour anywhere if we care about our seniors. Don’t get me wrong, I am a working class guy now doing a white collar job. My family were strong NDP supporters and we idolized Tommy Douglas. But as my grandfather, also a union man in the 1930s put it, “We needed the unions then, but they have gone overboard.” Just one example here: We can’t afford them. That’s one of the major reasons why hospital care is so poor in Canada, except for emergencies.

    In the meantime, we battle on.

    Comment by Communicator — September 21, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

  9. PHARMA LOBBYIST & NDP… These drugs are distributed like candy! Our neighbour was visited by a nurse from the government last year who told her she should go into assisted living. She didn’t want to but they bullied her into it. Within a month she was asking to leave, hated it. They wouldn’t listen to her and when we saw her two months later she was so drugged she wasn’t herself anymore, her personality had changed so quickly it was scary. She wasn’t the same gentle, full-of-fun person she always had been. She was doing fine until these dreadful busybodies got hold of her. No one is safe from these awful health care gestapo. Who can we trust? We need to stop the horrible way seniors are being treated now.

    Comment by who's kidding whom? — September 22, 2013 @ 10:44 am

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