Day 3 of the Canada Drugs Olympics saw our teams compete in the obstacle course. Each team member must make a run through this grueling course, the collective time determining each team’s placement in the standings. First comeptitors had to run the balance beam, then proceed to throw 3 wet sponge balls into buckets of water while wearing water-soaked oven mitts. Then contestants had to use a broom to sweep 2 balls and 2 pucks into four hula-hoops, it’s harder than it sounds. Then contestants had to throw a disc into a hula-hoop and jump our foam noodle hurdles. Finally athletes had to carry buckets of water through two stages to the finish line. All this while wearing plastic swimming rings around their arms. Fun (and frustration) was had by all.
Archive for July, 2017
On July 19, day 2 of competition was held for the Canada Drugs Olympics. The game was giant jenga. It was simple. Build the highest tower possible within 5 minutes. If it falls, you get no points. A high stakes game to be sure.
Today was the first day of the 2017 Canada Drugs Olympic Games. Today started off with breakfast followed by competitors slogging it out in the 2×4 race. It may look easy, but many teams struggled at the start. This event is organized by our social committee and runs for a whole week. We’ll keep you updated with photos and details of the events as they happen.
Roughly 700 years ago the Black Death devastated Medieval Europe. This outbreak of the bubonic plague killed roughly about half of the continent’s population. The bubonic plague would continue to make its presence felt periodically even up until modern times. In fact according to the World Health Organization, the pandemic of plague was only declared inactive in 1959! It seems odd that a disease associated with the medieval era could have survived into the 20th century. Indeed, the plague is still with us. However its occurrence is so rare that most people don’t even notice it.
Back in the middle ages doctors assumed the plague was spread by bad air, unburied bodies and other filth. They didn’t know it was spread by rats and was caused by an infection of Yersinia pestis bacteria. Interestingly, a plague outbreak in London may have been stopped in its tracks by the Great Fire of London in 1666; the fire having destroyed many infected rats. Perhaps this cause and effect, which pointed to vermin as the carriers, was missed in the panic of the moment. The point is diseases which we generally think of being the bane of earlier generations are still with us.
The plague still makes an appearance in the west, although no longer in civilization-destroying epidemics. The US always has a few each year. Most outbreaks occur in Arizona, California, Colorado, and New Mexico. In 2015 there were 16 cases recorded in the US. This year has been no different with several cases already reported. Thankfully, science has outpaced this old killer. Several types of antibiotics are used to combat this illness; gentamicin, doxycycline, ciprofloxacin, and levofloxacin.
So how does the plague manage to still infect people? The disease was never wiped out entirely. It lives and is spread mainly by fleas who hitch rides on vermin like rats. Destroying an entire species of flea or rats is pretty much impossible. While we can’t fully eradicate the disease’s favored transportation vectors, we can bring it under control. Public sanitation and vermin eradication programs mean that urban areas are far cleaner and more sanitary than they were even 100 years ago. Yet the disease is much like its hosts, resilient and difficult to fully destroy.
The plague isn’t the only “old fashioned” disease that still exists. Tuberculosis, cholera, diphtheria, polio, and even scarlet fever still run rampant in many parts of the world. In the west these illnesses have largely been contained through medical advances like vaccines, better public sanitation, and improved personal hygiene. If you’re scared of the plague or any of these other illnesses your risk of contracting them is very low, particularly if you live in the developed world. But you can lower your already low risk by ensuring you’re up-to-date on your vaccines, practice basic hygiene, and avoid disease hot spots. It’s interesting how history, which seems so long in the past, can burst into the present and remind us that the scourges of our ancestors can still affect us today.
RightsCon2017, also called “The Davos of Digital Rights”, was held at the end of March. Human and digital rights activists and experts from around the globe met to discuss human rights in the digital age. There are lots of implications for human rights in the digital age. Among them is access to safe and affordable prescription drugs. Advocates for internet access to affordable drugs held a panel at the conference and later drafted the Brussels Principles on Medication Sales over the Internet.
These principles can be used as guidelines by industry and governments to develop safe, accessible policy frameworks to permit the purchase and sale of prescription drugs safely over the Internet. Here is a copy of the principles.
Brussels Principles for the Online Sale of Medication
- that the cost and local availability of medication is a global barrier to essential medical treatments for hundreds of millions of people;
- that the Internet has served as a disruptive force to traditional industry in the practice of pharmacy and trade in pharmaceuticals, allowing for the ethical international sale of medications to patients;
- that countries are neglecting their human rights obligations when their citizens do not have adequate access to affordable healthcare, including medication
We affirm the following principles relating to the sale of medicine ordered for personal use on the Internet:
- Access to affordable medications is an essential component to the fundamental human right to health.
- Laws, regulations, and enforcement actions that impede online access to lower-priced, lawfully manufactured medication can be inimical to public health.
- Consumers should be able to use the Internet to order and have delivered through the mail safe and affordable medications.
- National laws can violate fundamental human rights when their effect prevents and, or, deters, citizens from importing medications for personal use who, because of cost or other access reasons, when patients have no other realistic options.
- Countries, and international organizations to which they belong, should promote a competitive online marketplace for safe pharmaceuticals, one that respects and empowers consumers, recognizing the need for policies that protect and facilitate affordability of drugs in countries with different incomes.
- Policies that affect online access to medication should be consumer-focused, patient-centered, evidence-based, and created with the understanding that prices often prohibit access.
- Recognizing the public health benefit in enabling consumers to find international online pharmacies that are safe and reliable, international and national enforcement efforts should focus on identifying and sanctioning online pharmacies that engage in the intentional sale of counterfeit and falsified medication, as defined by the World Health Organization, and otherwise ensuring that online pharmacies are a reliable and safe source of medication.
- Internet intermediaries, such as domain name registries, advertising networks, payment processors, financial institutions and mail and delivery services should not misuse their commercial power to disrupt online access to lawful, safe and affordable medication.
These principles are endorsed by groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Citizen, Canadian International Pharmacy Association, Knowledge Ecology International, and PharmacyChecker. But you can endorse them too. It’s very easy and you can do it here. Take action and add your voice to the growing number of people who advocate greater freedom.