Just Another Day at the Pharmacy…Big Pharma Planting Toxic Seeds at British Columbia Universities
I happened to have to sit and wait at the pharmacy to pick up my meds today, a very unusual occurrence. A young man, who appeared to be around the same age as me, entered through the door one second before me, with a “triplicate” prescription in hand, which always present difficulties at pharmacies here in B.C. – the triplicates are for anything that could be considered a “narcotic”, and considering the port city of Vancouver’s heroin and opiate plagues, their is a climate of paranoia among doctors about losing their licenses by dispensing anything that could possibly be crushed up and snorted or injected. I came to learn that there are many drugs that this can apparently be done with while I was dealing with my pre-surgery chronic pain – many, many more than I would have ever imagined!
I suppose there is a reason for this – after handing over his prescription, the man insisted on pacing back and forth in the very small space between the counter and the pharmacists, rambling nonsense at the people who were trying to fill this prescription. Then, another young woman walked in with a few prescription sheets. She carried a backpack that was literally stuffed with pills, that could be heard jiggling around as she started pacing as well. Finally the pharmacist managed to get the pair to sit down, and they both immediately pulled out their smartphones and started texting people.
I decided to be very old-fashioned, and picked up the copy of Common Ground magazine to read, a Canadian publication that challenges Big Pharma and promotes holistic healing, available at waiting rooms and pharmacies in larger cities out here, and immediately an article caught my eye: “B.C.’s New Love Affair With Biotech”. Awesome. I thought the article might have some interesting tidbits for my paper on neuroethics, so I began to read. Sadly, it provided something else – the information that both Merck and Pfizer have recently each donated $1 million to a certain educational institution out here under the great western sky , and the other major university in the Greater Vancouver Area is currently feeling heavy pressure from the “Liberal” government out here to shut down their centre that studies the potential harms and costs, weighing them against the benefits, of pharmaceuticals.
For a second I thought, maybe this is why my department is suddenly giving me such a hard time! This would be such a great relief, not for the outlook of this institution or society at large, but for me! “Maybe it’s not personal after all…” I pondered, with a smile creeping over my lips. Then, I realized this is very unlikely – the world does not revolve around your research, scars. But then again, could Pfizer be having some kind of implicit effect on the difficulty I am having carrying out critical research on the psychiatric drugging of children, here in B.C.? If so, I sadly made a very big mistake in choosing to go west rather than east to take this second degree of mine.
But like I always say, if I had not come here, I may never have met Alaryyk, the few but fabulous friends I have made here, or my new mentors – albeit the fact that they are either professors emeritus or very soon to be retired. Plus, the Pacific has always been a magnet, drawing me towards this side of Turtle Island.
I suppose I can only speculate at this point, but it will certainly be interesting to see if my government-funded research project, a pie in the face of Big Pharma, is further suppressed, after I sort out all of the personally discriminatory and administrative obstacles that have recently sprouted up in my path. At that point, the connection to these pharmaceutical giants would become much more suspicious…