Terence Young’s Book Launch Speech
Massey College, Toronto, April 14, 2009
I have to thank Gloria for sticking with me. From February 2006 through September I would set my alarm for 5 a.m. six days a week, make a pot of tea, and head down to my basement office to research and write in my pajamas and housecoat until I was out of words – sometimes early afternoon, and sometimes later. I know my family thought I had lost it. But I knew if I got dressed before mid-afternoon I would find reason to do something else, or leave the house, and never be done my first draft.
I was focused, to say the least.
I wrote Death by Prescription to save lives. It is the fulfillment of an oath I made the day after Vanessa died – to find out why and how she died.
I knew I had to do it when I discovered that, to Johnson & Johnson and the people at Health Canada, Vanessa was just a statistic. Because Prepulsid had already officially stopped the hearts of eighty patients. And because prescription drugs taken as prescribed in hospitals are the fourth leading cause of death in Canada – about 10,000 deaths a year. Perhaps another 10,000 are caused outside hospitals.
One out of four unplanned admissions to internal medicine at our hospitals is due to a drug.
You will discover in Death by Prescription that the ways drugs are created and marketed worldwide are not about health, they are about money.
Readers will learn from the experts, just as I did, how we got into this position where pharmaceuticals dominate our medical care to the point that we spend more on drugs (in 2005 prescription and OTC amounted to $24 B) than we do on doctors ($18 B) while seriously injuring over 100,000 people a year in Canada, and over two million in the U.S.In Death by Prescription you will learn:
- That the Canadian Pharmacists’ Association – who have good business reasons to want people to buy drugs, report that between $2 – $9 billion is wasted every year on inappropriately used drugs.
- How forty-one drugs have been pulled off the market since the sixties and no one at Health Canada even kept a record of why.
- How one drug was responsible for the deaths of as many U.S citizens as the Viet Nam War.
- How in Ontario, when a drug causes a patient death, the Coroner’s office routinely categorizes that as a ‘natural’ death.
- How the big pharma companies cover up deaths by blaming them (in many cases with no evidence) on overdose, another drug, or the patient themselves.
- How one decision by a lone drug reviewer at Health Canada could lead to over $100 million in sales for one drug if they approve it, yet reviewers attend closed-door meetings, where no minutes are taken, with drug company executives.
- How doctors accept and distribute over $4 billion a year in ‘free samples’ of new drugs that are in fact in Phase Four of clinical trials, and any patient taking a new drug is part of a giant trial to which few have consented.
- How the pharmaceutical companies spend $20,000 a year on average per doctor – mostly to “high scrip docs” – to create debts of gratitude the doctors have only one way to repay: by testing the newest and most expensive drugs on you and your family members.
Doctors are allowed to test new drugs on their own patients out of their offices, can be paid up to $20,000 per patient, and are not required to tell their patients they are earning up to $2 million on the side for reporting the drugs effects and reactions.
Even minor risks are often not worth it, because 90% of prescription drugs work half the time of less.
You will also become an empowered patient, learn where to get accurate, unbiased information on the drugs prescribed to you and your family, and help keep your family safe.
Take control of your own healthcare. Please read Death by Prescription. Thank you for coming here today.