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The Ongoing Doctor Dilemma

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The doctor drama is played out in living colour in every provinc.

The doctor drama is played out in living colour in every province. The spectators are the confused Canadian consumers of so-called "health care"--ever paying more dollars through compulsory taxes, along with their hopeful private donations for medical research and services, and ever getting sicker. Health Canada, our tax-supported agency established to oversee, monitor and protect the health and well being of Canadians, operates as a drug cover-up.

This is a new century. We are urged to take responsibility for our own health. It's time to clear the confusion and wise up to the reality of a worldwide battle.

Every now and then a fragment of the global picture is flashed and we're allowed a look. One such a glimpse was revealed in the series of four articles published by the Globe and Mail (January 02, 2001) on the "growing ties between drug companies and the medical community." We already knew about it. The relationship was arranged a hundred years ago. But the marriage certificate was not made public. This year Canada's premier national daily leaked the crux of the problem.

Laundering Tactics
The G&M article was entitled "The Doctor's Dilemma." The subject was the prostituting of the medical community by international drug "marketing" strategies.

Writer Krista Foss unveiled the long and insidious public relations arm of the global drug business as it reaches out to bribe practising physicians with everything from "free" drug samples to salsa lessons, to wine-tasting parties, to expense-paid vacations and cruises. And all in exchange for "good will and more prescriptions written for their drugs. Canadians are the ones who pay for the bribes in higher drug costs."

Few drug companies are reported for using these tactics. Those who get caught are only reprimanded or charged a minimal fine. But "when companies generate an extra $500,000 in sales as a result of their marketing strategies, how much will they worry about a $1,000 fine?" asks Halifax cardiologist PJ Devereaux, whose complicity cannot, apparently, be bought. Each year the history of infractions is wiped clean!

According to writer Foss, one Vancouver doctor says "yes" to the free lunches, the cookies, the occasional boat cruise and the drug-company money that subsidized an educational retreat at Whistler this winter. But he says he'll "spend more time on the slopes than listening to lectures!"

The dilemma of medicine is of monumental and critical importance--and it's both fixable and affordable.

Get all the practitioners under the umbrella of the provincial medical systems: allopathic, naturopathic, chiropractic, homeopathic. Give each of them its own college of discipline but put all under Medicare. The consumer is entitled to get the complete coverage he pays medical insurance for. This will greatly loosen the grip of the drug companies. The doctor/drug monopoly is broken and "alternative" practitioners are able to function in a fair system.

Medical costs go down and delivery of effective medical modalities improves in every province. People have wider choices and more opportunity to get well. Medical doctors have more free time. Even the economy recovers!

It's not difficult. It just hasn't been tried.

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