… of pharma-compromised universities, to which we in the US have become accustomed. As is almost always the case in these scandals, only because a medical student at the University of Toronto bothered to look into both the financial interests of one of his professors, and the origin of the pain management textbook the professor used in a mandatory course, did it become clear that even as “Canada’s opioid addiction epidemic took root,” he and his classmates were being encouraged to prescribe arguably the most dangerous of prescription opiates. Although more powerful than morphine, oxycodone was consistently described, in the book and by the professor in his lectures, as among the safest of this class of pills in terms of addiction.

The student, now a doctor, discovered that the professor was a consultant to Purdue, the drug’s maker, and that “quotes [in the book] that endorsed the drug never actually existed.” That is, the professor (who wrote the book, presumably with help from the manufacturer) apparently made up positive statements about the drug and put them in the book.

The professor protests that he did the lectures “for free.” Which UD guesses means he’s boasting that the university didn’t pay him. Why should it? I’m sure Purdue paid him far more than the university ever could.

Anyway. What’s done is done. “In 2000, less than 4 per cent of the opiate addicts in withdrawal treatment at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) were addicted to oxycodone, the primary ingredient in such prescription drugs as OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan. By 2004, that figure had climbed to 55.4 per cent.”

One assumes plenty of other pharma consultants remain in teaching positions in other Canadian universities. How often does the odd whistle-blower among the students come along and discover how foully he and his fellow students are being corrupted? Almost never.

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