The Champix Coup in British Columbia

The Champix Coup in BC

Walt McGinnis   – reporter for Citizens Forum

In 2011 Christie Clark, the Premier of the province of British Columbia, announced the provincial Pharmacare program would cover a drug named Champix to help people quit smoking. Champix is   a powerful psychoactive drug made by Pfizer.  Many health authorities think that Champix poses a grave threat to the public’s health.

The way the government of BC approved Champix ignored health and safety concerns while being improperly swayed by the drug lobbyists. The new NDP government is set on covering up the Liberals wrong doings while leaving  many  unanswered questions swirling around this incident.

In 2012 a research group called the Therapeutics Initiative was about to release a study on Champix. There have been many concerns worldwide that the drug may have played a role in hundreds of suicides. But the Liberal government would hear none of that.

Instead of accepting the Therapeutics Initiative report the Liberal government fired the researchers and hid the study from the public claiming the researchers had breached the privacy of those in the study. At the time no one knew that the Liberals had no evidence to support their charges.  This devastated the lives of the seven health researchers and played a role in the death of one researcher named Rodney MacIsaac, which ironically was, in spite of some unusual circumstances, ruled a suicide.  As well, because there are still many concerns regarding the safety of Champix, the drug could still be harming tens of thousands of people trying to stop smoking today.

What was the real reason for Christie Clark to fire the researchers?  Perhaps it was because Clark wanted to suppress a report by the researchers that showed that Champix, a drug she approved in 2011, and is still covered by the BC PrarmaCare, was linked to suicides worldwide, and should not have even been allowed on the market by Health Canada, let alone be covered by the BC Pharmacare program.

Tens of thousands of dollars in political donations to the B.C. Liberal Party by Pfizer may have played a role in the Liberal government’s promotion of the drug.  Drug companies and pharmacies donated nearly $600,000 to the B.C. Liberals between 2004 and 2012. A report like that being prepared by the Therapeutics Initiative could erode confidence in  Champix and cause billions of dollars of lost sales worldwide. Christie Clark and the Liberal government made sure that report would never see the light of day.  Strangely Adrian Dix and the NDP are continuing the cover up of what may be criminal actions of the BC Liberals.


A brief history of a drug deal gone bad and the cover-up by both the Liberals and the NDP.

In 2011 Premier Christie Clark announced that the Provincial PrarmaCare Program was about to begin covering Champix and another drug used to help people quit smoking. The government had no independent scientific opinions of the safety of Champix.

In 2012, the Therapeutics Initiative was looking into the safety of Champix. Roderick MacIssac and Rebecca Warburton were researching the government program that prescribes drugs to help British Columbians stop smoking when they were fired. Their report has never been made public.

Margaret MacDiarmid was the Minister of Health at the time of the firings.  She was appointed by Clark just two days before the seven health care researchers were fired over what has been shown to be false accusations of breaches of privacy.

Was MacDiarmid put in place so that she could claim ignorance of the facts? Was she set up to take the fall if things went wrong instead of the previous Health Minister Michael deJong?

Deputy Minister of Health, David Whitmarsh made the firings. He misinformed MacDiarmid on several key aspects of the case including telling her that there was a breach of privacy by several researchers, and that the RCMP was involved with an investigation. Neither point was true. He was fired the following year but Whitmarsh has never been held accountable for his actions. The RCMP say they tried repeatedly to get information from the provincial government, but it never came.

On January 8, 2013 this sordid tale took an even darker turn. Researcher Rodney MacIssac was found dead in his apartment. He had been dead for a month. The cause of death was hypoxia due to carbon-monoxide poisoning.

Mystery surrounds B.C. health ministry scandal that stopped pharmaceutical research and saw seven employees fired

On October 10 2013, a full seven months after MacIsaac’s body was discovered, the B.C. Coroners Service finally officially ruled the death a suicide.

According to the coroner’s report, MacIsaac shut himself in a small room, placed towels under two doors, and started a gas-powered generator. The machine ran exhausting carbon monoxide until its fuel ran out.

In June 2015, Adrian Dix, then the Health critic for the NDP, called for a public inquiry.
RCMP documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Vancouver Sun show that  police were not given evidence by the Liberal government to investigate the wrongdoing which was used to justify the firings, despite the government telling the public an investigation was ongoing.

This is what Dix had to say then.

“They {the Liberal government} claimed {that there was} an RCMP investigation that simply didn’t exist”.

“They failed to provide any information, even though they led their press conference announcing the dismissal of these workers saying there was an ongoing RCMP investigation … it shows a government that frankly, intentionally — from the beginning — misled the public about this issue and continued to do so for years.”…/canada/…/health-ministry-firing-investigation-stonewalled-by-b-c-gov…

It is now June 2018. Adrian Dix is the Minister of Health. Strangely Dix has changed his mind and has not asked for a government inquiry.

As well, Dix has not allowed the public to see the contents of the report on Champix from the Therapeutics Initiative.

Champix is still approved by Health Canada and covered by BC PharaCare.

Was foul play involved in the death of Rod MacIssac? Why did it take so long to declare it a suicide? Who wrote the note left on his laptop?

Strangely it took the Coroner’s office over seven months to declare MacIsaac’s death a suicide. As well the coroner’s office has been accused by the family of deleting a letter left on MacIsaac’s laptop at the death scene. The coroner claims that nothing was deleted from the laptop. It is not entirely clear if the note was written by MacIssac, if the note was actually meant to be a suicide note or if it was written by others, perhaps his killers, to look like a suicide note. .

And the biggest question of all was what did the coroner find at the scene that made him wait seven months before he ruled it was a suicide?  We may never know if the BC provincial government has its way.





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