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CUPE National President Paul Moist is calling attention to the dangers of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising (DCTA) of Prescription Drugs. Moist shared his analysis in Toronto as part of Ryerson University’s Ethics Network Speaker Series.

  • Update: Video now available of Paul Moist’s speech. Note: Moist is the second speaker featured in this video.

In December 2005, CanWest Mediaworks launched a court challenge against the federal government, claiming that the current restrictions on advertising prescription drugs are an infringement of freedom of speech under the Canadian Charter of Rights.

But these restrictions are essential public health safeguards, said Moist. “Direct-to-Consumer Advertising aims to increase drugs sales and consumption, and does not educate the public. It rather pushes the newest medicines, which in many cases are no safer or more effective than existing drugs. In fact, little is known about their rare or long-term risks.”

“In the hierarchy of rights, do the rights of the corporation trump the public’s right to health and safety, especially the rights of individuals who are vulnerable as they grapple with serious illness? This legal case is important in terms of how the court interprets the Charter rights of free expression.”

See also: Direct-to-Consumer Advertising for Drugs (DTCA): Backgrounder