I don’t often read a physical newspaper. Even in Toronto, where the Toronto Star is delivered to parents front door every day, as it has been for my entire life, I more or less ignore it. But today, I sat down to lunch at the table (again, something I rarely do) and picked up the newspaper. And proceeded to lose my mind.
Above the fold coverage was dedicated to one story, about a young girl who ran away from her home in Montreal to join ISIS, then called her mom less than a week later, later crying that she’d made a mistake. Her mother spent the next three years looking for her, trying to bring her home. The story is the focus of a documentary airing this Sunday on the CBC.
This is obviously a compelling story for several reasons – a misguided youth who saw the error of her ways, the mother who fought for three years to find her daughter and bring her home, and everyone’s favourite boogie monster, ISIS. But the truth is, while this story may be both sordid and compelling, it’s not relevant to anyone outside of this family and the security services of the Canadian government. It has nothing to do with me and my life, or the lives of pretty much everyone I know. But I get it. ISIS. Scary. Whatever.
Moving below the fold are more stories that are not immediately relevant, including a big chunk of space dedicated to a nonsensical piece about the Toronto weather and why men wear shorts when it’s cold outside. Yes, that’s front page news.
Opening the paper, page 2 informs us about a new office to investigate human rights abuses, Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria and a publisher who is no longer interested in poetry.
But it’s page 3 where the real story is. The one that can really make a difference in the lives of millions of Canadians. The one that should have been on the front of the newspaper, above the fold, with a big red headline.
The headline (in black, not in red) reads: “Morning sickness drug ineffective: report.” The subheading continues: “Toronto doctor’s published findings on Diclectin based on trial records kept secret by manufacturer, Health Canada.”
In short, Toronto Doctor Nav Presaud fought for years to access records that both the drug manufacturer Duchesnay – AND HEALTH CANADA – kept private for years, hidden from the public. They finally disclosed the findings to the doctor, on the condition that he not release their findings to the public. He conducted his own analysis of their studies and to make a long story short, found that the drug is basically ineffective. Not necessarily unsafe, but ineffective. This is contrary to the findings that were released by the drug company – findings that were supported by Health Canada, despite Health Canada having the same information that Dr.Presaud had. Let me reiterate: Dr. Presaud’s findings are contrary to what was released by the drug company and Health Canada, not contrary to what was found and documented in Duchesnay’s own study in 2009.
I would urge all my Canadian peeps to read the article. And then ask yourself this: Why is this article on page 3? This drug company and Health Canada were both aware that the drug was basically ineffective. And according to the article, “one prescription [for this drug] is filled for every two live births in Canada.” That’s a lot of freaking prescriptions. This news affects millions of Canadian women, who have been given a drug that at best is ineffective, and at worst, we may find out, is dangerous. And the cherry on top of the cake? Health Canada, after reviewing Dr. Presaud’s findings (and not disputing them) continues to support this drug.
This news affects millions of Canadians now. Why isn’t it on page 1? Why are we reading about some teenager who went nuts, ran off to ISIS and then called her mom a few days later crying to come home?
I know. Money. Advertising. ISIS. I get it. I mean, I know. But still.
What is the point of this? Nothing, I suppose. But I’m mad. And you should be too.