LETTER: A step backwards for the Green Party

Reader Roger Pratt says Pharmacare is dangerous.

I was astonished to see your articles about the closing of the swimming pool and the Cottonwood Market. What surprised me was the fact the articles did not blame the closures on Stephen Harper, because it seems he is blamed for most things going wrong around the world today.

Sadly, the Green Party has come out in support of Pharmacare. This is a huge mistake. Statistics show (Death by Medicine, by Gary Null) that the leading cause of death in North America is the health care system, and transposing US statistics, prescription drugs kill about 10,000 Canadians a year.

That is more deaths than motor vehicle accidents, murders, and suicides combined. Statistics also show that about 100,000 Canadians are seriously injured by prescription drugs each year (Death by Prescription, by Terence Young), and former drug company insider Dr. Allen Roses states that only 30 to 50 per cent of prescription drugs are effective. By getting taxpayers to pay for prescription drugs it means that more people will be taking more drugs, which would obviously lead to more deaths and injuries.

A couple of examples: in 2012 the US Food and Drug Administration approved for use 12 new chemotherapy drugs. Of the 12, nine cost over $100,000 per year to administer, and of the nine, only three were shown to lengthen lives, and two of them by only two months. Why should taxpayers pay for what, in my opinion, appears to be mostly very expensive garbage, and probably with some very bad side-effects?

Another example is the approval of a new “blockbuster” drug by the FDA in July, Entresto. During a 27-month study period, there was a 20 per cent improvement in the number of people dying of heart failure. However, at the same time a similar study was carried out using the vitamin-like antioxidant coenzyme Q10, and there was a 44 per cent improvement.

Entresto costs $12.50 per day, and CoQ10 about $3 per day. You can buy CoQ10 at the co-op or health store. Why would the Green Party, and now the NDP, get taxpayers to pay outrageous prices for inefficient products, when better, less expensive products are available? It makes no sense. Big Pharma spends billions more dollars each year in advertising and in lobbying politicians and doctors, than they do on research.

Health Canada has been busy taking safe, effective, nutritional supplements off the shelves, presumably because they are competition to the expensive drugs. Natto, fermented soy beans, is one example. It is a blood thinner and competition to the statin drugs. It is perfectly safe in Japan and the U.S.A., but as soon as it crosses the border into Canada it becomes extremely dangerous.

CoQ10 is probably next for the chopping block, thanks in part to the Green Party and the NDP. Our current health care system is unsustainable, but the only party that has acknowledged this is the Conservatives. They recognize that structural changes are required in order to have a safe and effective system. How will the NDP balance a budget when health care costs soar above 50, 60 and 70 per cent of the provincial budget?

One other thing: Long-time NDP supporters Naomi Klein, David Lewis, David Suzuki and many others, have just signed a Marxist/socialist LEAP Manifesto. They are quoted as saying “austerity is a threat to life on earth,” which I interpret to mean “balanced budgets are a threat to life on earth.” Is our local NDP candidate a supporter of David Suzuki, Naomi Klein and Stephen Lewis, or does he want balanced budgets?

Roger Pratt

Nelson

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