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What's in the news: Oct. 1 -- Gay man takes on blood-donor ban

Gay man takes on blood-donor ban
A gay blood donor has begun a major and potentially majorly consequential legal battle with Canadian Blood Services over their prohibition on male homosexual donations. CBS is suing Kyle Freeman of Thornhill, Ontario, for lying about his status as an eligible donor and for donating blood in violation of its rules, and Mr Freeman is suing CBS, alleging their policy banning gay men from being donors is a violation of his Charter rights. [Ottawa Citizen] [Sun Media]

Unpublished data dictate Canadian flu-vaccine policy
Most provinces are now suspending their seasonal-flu vaccination programs after word circulated of several as-yet-unpublished Canadian studies that reportedly found the seasonal vaccine raises the risk of contracting the pandemic H1N1 strain. Only New Brunswick has committed to distributing seasonal vaccine, reported The Globe and Mail. [Globe and Mail]

Military considers requiring H1N1-flu vaccine
The Canadian Forces is worried about the legality of mandating the H1N1-flu vaccine for its soldiers. [CTV News]

OMA lobbies against pharmacists prescribing
At a legislative committee hearing on Tuesday, the Ontario Medical Association issued a salvo in its push back against the Ontario government's proposal to permit pharmacists to prescribe some drugs and renew some scripts. "The number one priority for Ontario's doctors throughout this entire process has been and remains patient safety because the level and quality of care that a doctor can provide should not be substituted for expediency," President-elect Dr Mark MacLeod said in a release. [OMA news release]

Report cards are in
The Conference Board of Canada ranked Canada 10th out of 16 developed countries on its healthcare systems, giving it a 'B' grade. The United States ranked 16th, with a 'D.' [Conference Board of Canada report] [CBC News]

Asklepios hits 3,000 members
The Canadian Medical Association's online social network has 3,000 members a little over one year after its launch. [CMA News]

Drugs bought online kill drug researcher
A Canadian neurobiology post-doc working in Maryland is to face criminal charges after his girlfriend died from a buprenorphine overdose as a result of recreational use of what may have been tainted drugs that were acquired from overseas via the internet. [Associated Press]

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  1. Sam Solomon1 October, 2009 9:58 AM

    More on the provinces' vaccine plans, from The Globe and Mail's Caroline Alphonso:

    "New Brunswick's public health authorities, skeptical about the science behind the Canadian study, have moved up seasonal flu shots for all their residents to October before proceeding to the pandemic vaccine campaign. Meanwhile, Quebec and Nunavut are deferring their seasonal flu campaigns until after their H1N1 mass vaccination clinics.

    "Other provinces and territories – Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories and Yukon – have decided on a three-step approach. They will offer seasonal shots next month only to the elderly, who are at low risk of catching H1N1, and residents of long-term care facilities; then they will roll out the swine flu vaccine when it becomes available in November, and resume seasonal flu shots in December or January. Alberta will announce its decision Thursday."

    Full article here

  2. Jessica Deal1 October, 2009 10:56 AM

    What century are we living in anyway? Gay ban? I'm glad he protested!

  3. Sam Solomon1 October, 2009 11:18 AM

    Curiously, the Canadian Blood Services "indefinite deferral" (i.e. lifetime ban) on donations by men who have sex with men is grouped with deferrals prompted by "HIV high risk activities" but the world-famous Canadian AIDS expert Dr Mark Wainberg, of McGill, has said that that scientific rationale doesn't make sense.

    But there's a large and growing body of research on this question, including a number of interesting papers in the last couple of years, and it's not clear that Dr Wainberg is entirely correct. Anyone who's interested in learning more about the subject would be well advised to spend a few minutes looking at some of the literature on it. You can use a PubMed search that I set up here.

    I'd be glad to discuss this further if anyone is interested. Let me know.

  4. Purley Quirt (aka Sharon )4 October, 2009 11:06 AM

    RE: medical prescriptions

    A. From the practitioner to the public

    1. as a contract base

    The prescription itself needs to be treated as central to the " medical alliance" made between patient and practitioner. This means that the patient should acknowledge receipt at some point ( perhaps through pharmacy records) that the prescription was filled

    2. as a court record

    3. standards for use controlled outside of the profession ( e.g.courts)

    4. liability clearly defined for primary AND secondary issuers

    5. training related to secondary issuance mandatory e.g.

    [ read from page 13 to end ]

    B. From the practitioner to the payor

    In Canada the physician is often representative of a private sector alliance.
    The power to permit the use of "prescription power" should be controlled by the payor .... in every aspect.
    This responsibility implies provision of training and enforcement of standards will occur.

    This power permits the payor to bypass wrongful control of the patient.

    This power permits the payor to demand standards of distribution.

    This power enables the patient to have" the payor as their ally" ( versus associations) when standards are not met.

  5. Purley Quirt (aka Sharon )4 October, 2009 11:25 AM

    RE: pharmacy participation

    From the CMA report
    However, Dr. Mark MacLeod, President-Elect of the OMA will raise some concerns at the hearing about several proposals within the legislation. Specifically, with respect to pharmacists being granted the ability to 'adjust, adapt or extend' a prescription, Dr. MacLeod pointed out that this may create separate practice silos between a prescribing physician and a pharmacist and this type of fragmented treatment may diminish the quality of patient care.

    end of paste

    'adjust , adapt or extend' is already occurring when the pharmacist dispenses "repeats" on medication that legally can be dispensed " all at once".
    Will this collusion ensuring increased dispensing fees to the pharmacist end...... to the advantage of the patient?

  6. Purley Quirt (aka Sharon )4 October, 2009 11:32 AM

    RE: what taints blood

    There are already disease states considered risky for blood recipients ( e.g hepatitis)

    Can you find me anyone that wants to be exposed to any risk of HIV infection when " high risk" identifiers have already been established?

    If donors consider this a "lifestyle" category of risk versus disease indicator ( e.g. HIV may not be identifiable by symptoms for several years) perhaps this is an open door for " automatic testing" of an STD.

    ( remember the days where every hospital admission included a Wasserman test for Syphilis?)

  7. Purley Quirt (aka Sharon )4 October, 2009 11:43 AM

    RE the post-doc's boyfriend in Maryland

    I got the impression from the article that this fellow is facing charges on drug possession... not charges related to the death of his girlfriend...

    Is that correct?

  8. Purley Quirt (aka Sharon )4 October, 2009 12:05 PM

    RE: the Pubmed search for MSM blood donors

    As is common with the information gathering process...even at the journal level...the maze of research criteria, methodology and selected indicators makes it difficult to know "what to compare with what".

    Is it by topic?
    Is it by title?
    Is it by discipline?
    Is it by sponsor?
    Is it by time?

    What measurement "criteria" measures what you want to find out?

    This would not be easily discussed at the point of investigation, donation, or even distribution,.... but would be a very interesting discussion to read from the perspective of the " donee".

  9. Purley Quirt (aka Sharon )4 October, 2009 12:11 PM

    P.S. as a " donee" .......would I be willing to pay for a blood transfusion from an "organically pure" source.......?


  10. Richie Lawson5 October, 2009 6:19 PM

    I found this and its interesting how power corrupts !

  11. Purley Quirt (aka Sharon )8 October, 2009 9:59 AM

    You must have heard this statement, Richie:

    'power corrupts and " total power" corrupts " totally"'

    The power of " Associations" is not broad enough, encompassing enough, comprehensive enough to harness the loaded gun of " the prescription" as it moves into the litigious world of "contract".

    We do not need those "dispensing prescriptions themselves" or "dispensing under prescription" to be " contract killers" ( in every sense of the words )!

  12. Purley Quirt (aka Sharon )8 October, 2009 10:06 AM

    Richie... your URL does not compute

  13. Purley Quirt (aka Sharon )8 October, 2009 10:33 AM

    Ritchie...your URL for this on " commentsphere" prevents watching....however pasted from this site it works fine...

    .........hmmmmmmm... should look into that :(

    Obviously, you are hoping that some form of "legal contract" emerges between patient and physician... and where better than by having the prescription ( as in " whatever the "prescriber" prescribes be treated as a contract" ...drugs et al)

    read this:

    if, for some reason it does not pop up read:

    Principles of European contract law, Volume 3 By Ole Lando, H. G. Beale, Commission on European Contract Law ( pages 202 -221 )

    NOTE: the comments on "international" perspectives... and also how it broadens the " litigation pool"

    You might ask yourself the question:

    Who do I want my prescription contract to be administered by?

    Obviously...the biggest pocket. So start thinking "chain of command" both for " issuers" and " complainants".

    ( hope my ? fans are reading this)

  14. Blut13 October, 2009 5:26 PM

    For a complete discussion of the issues in the court case involving CBS/Health Canada and the gay blood donor who lied repeatedly on his blood donor screening questionnaire, see the latest entry in my blog "Musings on Transfusion Medicine":

    "Don't ask, don't tell... Time to fold 'em or bad moon rising?" (Musings on the MSM deferral policy for blood donors)

  15. Sam Solomon14 October, 2009 9:45 AM

    Thanks for the link, Dr. Letendre. Very good explanation of the matter and very astute comments. For the record, my gambling money is on the courts finding that the CBS policy does indeed violate nondiscrimination tenets in the Charter but does so justifiably given the scientific evidence, and that CBS/Héma-Québec will not change their MSM-indefinite-deferral rules.

    For anyone who wants to read the article from the Musings on Transfusion Medicine blog, the direct link is here.

  16. sharon29 October, 2009 11:55 PM

    file this under " jay-walking"

  17. abass29 January, 2010 5:26 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.