Alan Cassels

Alan Cassels is a Drug Policy Researcher affiliated with the Faculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria.

He has worked on a variety of research and evaluation studies for the past sixteen years focusing on the impact of provincial drug benefit policies on consumers and has specialized in examining how clinical research information on drugs gets communicated to policy-makers, prescribers and consumers.

Alan led the first ever evaluation of Canadian newspaper coverage of new drugs (published in April 2003 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal) and he has frequently reported on consumer issues relating to pharmaceuticals for magazines, newspapers and the CBC Radio program IDEAS.

He is co-author, with Australian journalist Ray Moynihan of the book, Selling Sickness, (Greystone books, 2005) about the role of the pharmaceutical industry in helping to create and market illness. He is a frequent lecturer and media commentator on current pharmaceutical policy issues in Canada and is the founder of Media Doctor Canada, a website devoted to improving medical reporting in Canada.

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Commentaries by Alan Cassels:

Combating the over-medication of seniors
Solving Canada’s opioid epidemic must include tackling what got us into
the predicament in the first place
 // La solution à l’épidémie d’opioïdes au Canada doit viser notamment la source du problème
Dear Health Minister — please reinstate funding for Cochrane Canada // Rétablissez le financement de Cochrane Canada, madame la ministre
Is waiting longer for new prescription drug approvals necessarily a bad thing?
Why we should think twice before we institutionalize national pharmacare
Why employers in Canada waste $5 billion a year on inefficient drug coverage // L’inefficacité de l’assurance-médicaments privée coûte 5 milliards chaque année aux entreprises
The continued medicalization of women’s bodies
Now there’s proof for the “Angelina Jolie Effect” // L’effet « Angelina Jolie » est maintenant confirmé
The best health advice you’ll get today?
Celebrity endorsements and medical screening // L’appui des célébrités et le dépistage medical
New cholesterol guidelines mean many patients may reassess their use of statins
Toxic information
Why we need more ‘real world’ research on pharmaceutical drug safety
Caution this ‘Movember’ // La prudence de mise en ce mois de Movember
Designer drugs: You’re really paying for the name // Des médicaments hors de prix
Diabetes: Profits before evidence // Sauver notre système de santé, c’est mettre en évidence les faits
Do we really want to trust more of our health to the private sector?
Gene guilt by association // Les tests de dépistage génétique personnalisés moins éclairants que ce qu’on nous promet
How to save $690 and prevent unnecessary worry // Comment économiser 690 $ et s’éviter des inquiétudes inutiles
Mammography and the overdiagnosis of breast cancer
Medical screening has over-promised and under-delivered // Le dépistage médical : une réputation surfaite, des résultats mitigés
Movember moustache? By all means
Screening kids for high cholesterol – why stop there? // Dépister l’hypercholestérolémie chez les enfants : pourquoi s’arrêter là?
Some ideas can be bad for your health // Ne blâmons pas les baby-boomers

Interviews with Alan Cassels:

Audio Podcast: When it comes to medical tests and treatments, more is not always better
Audio Podcast: Why Canadian employers waste $5 billion a year on inefficient drug coverage
Audio Podcast: When it comes to medical tests and treatments, more is not always better

Posters by Alan Cassels:

The best health advice you’ll get today?

“The research is adding up to a wholesale re-questioning of the need for mammography for healthy women based on the fact that the overall benefits seem to be vanishingly small and the harms — including unnecessary cancer scares, biopsies and surgeries — considerable.”

Read the commentary: The best health advice you’ll get today?

 

 

 

CasselsPosterQuote2Sept09.13

 

“Early screening on its own, without the evidence to back up its usefulness in saving or improving lives, is not only costly to our public health system, but may actually cause patient harm.”

Read the commentary: Medical screening has over-promised and under-delivered

 

 

 

CasselsPosterAug21.13“A wide body of international research shows that physicians who are exposed to more drug-company-sponsored information tend to prescribe costlier drugs, more drugs in total and to have longer quality prescribing practices.”

Read the commentary: Toxic information

 

 

 

 

The best health advice you’ll get today?

“Many scientists who have looked closely at the evidence have soundly questioned routine mammograms for healthy women — those with no extra risk factors for the disease — and particularly for younger women because of the very real problems of overdiagnosis and overtreatment.”

Read the commentary: The best health advice you’ll get today?

 

 

 

Le dépistage médical : une réputation surfaite, des résultats mitigés

“Le dépistage précoce, dont l’efficacité pour ce qui est de sauver des vies ou d’améliorer la santé des gens n’a pas été prouvée, est non seulement coûteux pour notre réseau de santé mais peut aussi causer des torts aux patients.”

Lisez l’article: Le dépistage médical : une réputation surfaite, des résultats mitigés

 

 

 

Why employers in Canada waste $5 billion a year on inefficient drug coverage

Tackling the wastefulness of private drug plans would not only increase the disposable income of all Canadians, it would also reduce labour costs and increase the competitiveness of Canadian businesses.

Read the Commentary: Why employers in Canada waste $5 billion a year on inefficient drug coverage

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