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UBC study raises concern over generic drug use

A new study finds contaminants in generic medications may have significant health consequences

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A new study from the University of British Columbia suggests contaminants found in generic medications used to treat common conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and heartburn may cause damage to DNA, affect cell function, and increase the risk of cancer.

The study said research on the effects of such contaminants on humans has long been limited, therefore hindering our ability to understand their risk, and in turn, develop countermeasures.

The man who spearheaded the study, a widely respected UBC professor by the name of Dr. Corey Nislow, has been intent on closing the gaps regarding our understanding of the contaminants in these medications.

“When we take these drugs, we do so knowing that they can come with side effects that are clearly described on the drug label,” said Nislow in a UBC news release.

“What we don’t expect is that our medicine cabinet may be full of toxins that can actually make us sick – or kill us.”

N-nitrosamine, considered to be carcinogenic, is the study’s main contaminant of concern. The findings suggest facilities need to tighten up their regulations to ensure standards are complied with – primarily overseas facilities that manufacture a high volume of cheaper generic drugs, which are more widely used than their branded versions due to the lower cost.

“It’s easy to assume that generic medication for common conditions is equivalent to the branded version, but in reality, they could be made with entirely different ingredients,” said Nislow.

The consequence of nitrosamine consumption has been noticed in heart medications, which often contain the active ingredients valsartan (used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure) or losartan. Health Canada, along with regulators in multiple countries, recalled medications containing valsartan in 2018 following the detection of nitrosamines.

Researchers studied the contaminants in yeast as it shares roughly half of its genes with humans, making it an ideal stand-in for human cells in many experiments.

The lab began by adding high doses of nitrosamines to 4,800 strains of yeast with marked DNA. Researchers then deleted one gene at a time in order to determine how the toxin would affect its growth. The contaminants in question had a significant effect on DNA repair and the mechanism that makes cell proteins, which Nislow said is one of the most ancient cellular processes.

Nitrosamines could also lead to adverse effects on ones ability to convert food into energy as well, due to their effect on the cell’s mitochondria.

“So, the very things that these drugs are being used to treat could ultimately be affected by the contaminants,” said Nislow.

The study recommends more research into the long term effects of these contaminants, along with better surveillance of the supply chain.

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com

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EXCLUSIVE: Country star running for UCP president to force Kenney leadership vote

Sources tell the Western Standard that George Canyon will run for the presidency of the party in order to trigger an earlier leadership review.

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Alberta country star George Canyon is set to announce he’s running for the presidency of the United Conservative Party, multiple sources tell the Western Standard.

But Canyon is not seeking a typical mandate for a party president, however, but will be running on a platform of holding an early leadership review of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

Several sources in the party told the Western Standard Canyon will make the announcement this week.

The UCP will hold its annual general meeting November 19-21 at the Grey Eagle Resort, where members present will elect a new board of directors for the party.

Candidates running on an explicit mandate of triggering a leadership review is rare in Canadian politics.

Canyon placed second in the 2019 federal election under the Conservative banner in his native Nova Scotia, but lives in Alberta.

The country music star regularly sings the national anthem at Calgary Flames games at the Saddledome.

Canyon’s entry into the political fray comes as Kenney’s leadership has been under siege since he imposed a fourth round of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns last week, including a vaccine passport, something he vowed never to do.

A UCP Caucus meeting is set for Wednesday and Kenney’s leadership is expected to be the main point of discussion.

Dozens of grassroots UCP constituency associations have joined forces to call for an early leadership review of Kenney. The party currently has one scheduled in late 2022, only six months before the next provincial election.

UCP VP of policy Joel Mullan wrote an open letter in the Western Standard Tuesday that called for Kenney to go immediately.

“My responsibility is to look at the reality —not wish it away — and take the necessary steps to protect the health care system,” Kenney said.

“Let’s deal with those things at the right time, after this crisis.”

He said any move to hold a leadership race now would be “grossly irresponsible.”

Kenney was asked if the internal turmoil in the UCP was what led to the resignation of Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

“I am focused on getting through the fourth wave of COVID, not politics,” Kenney said.

“We have to protect the health care system to prevent needless deaths — we will not allow politics to distract us.”

Kenney may not go so easily however.

One UCP MLA says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney would rather “blow up” the government than admit he was wrong about COVID-19 and resign.

The MLA, who spoke to the Western Standard on the condition of anonymity, made the comment prior to thee Tuesday afternoon Kenney cabinet shuffle.

“This is a desperate bid by Kenney to save his leadership,” the MLA said of Shandro’s removal.

“Most of us agree Shandro is incompetent and must go, but he was acting under orders directly from Kenney.

“It looks pathetic and is only designed to stave off a vote of no-confidence from the caucus tomorrow,” the MLA said.

“Rather than go gracefully, [Kenney] would rather blow the whole thing up than step down gracefully.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Kenney says leadership review now would be ‘grossly irresponsible’

When asked at a Tuesday press conference by the Toronto Star about the Mullan letter, Kenney responded there has been opposition to his health care policy “since Day 1.”

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney last night rejected any calls for an immediate leadership review of him as “grossly irresponsible.”

Kenney has been under withering attacks for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis in Alberta, which led to the “resignation” Tuesday of Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

A UCP caucus meeting is set for Wednesday and Kenney’s leadership is expected to be the main point of discussion.

Dozens of grassroots UCP constituency associations have joined forces to call for an early leadership review of Kenney. The party currently has one scheduled in late 2022, only six months before the next provincial election.

UCP VP of policy Joel Mullan wrote an open letter in the Western Standard Tuesday called for Kenney to go immediately.

When asked at a Tuesday press conference by the Toronto Star about the Mullan letter, Kenney responded there has been opposition to his health care policy “since Day 1.”

“My responsibility is to look at the reality — not wish it away — and take the necessary steps to protect the health care system,” Kenney said.

“Let’s deal with those things at the right time, after this crisis.”

Kenney was asked if the internal turmoil within the UCP was what led to the resignation of Shandro.

“I am focused on getting through the fourth wave of COVID, not politics,” Kenney said.

“We have to protect the health care system to prevent needless deaths — we will not allow politics to distract us.”

Kenney said he knew when he brought in the fourth wave of COVID-19 lockdowns last week and flip-flopped on his promise not to bring in vaccine passports there would be internal grumblings.

He said the COVID-19 cabinet committee has had 12 hours of “respectful” meeting time with the full UCP caucus.

Kenney pointed out the People’s Party of Canada, which ran on an anti-vaccination platform, took 8% of the vote in Alberta in the federal election.

“Let me be blunt, those people likely voted for me in the last provincial election,” Kenney said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Kenney said shuffle was ‘time for a fresh start’

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said 29 Albertans died in the last 24 hours from COVID-19, including people who had been doubled-vaxxed, but included many people who hadn’t received any vaccinations at all.

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Tyler Shandro wasn’t fired as health minister, he resigned, says Premier Jason Kenney.

Answering questions after Tuesday’s cabinet shuffle, Kenney said he accepted the resignation from Shandro from the health portfolio.

“Tyler’s dedication to the job has never been questioned. He brought his heart to the job,” Kenney said.

“It’s time for a fresh start.”

Kenney denied the shuffle was done to appease critics in the UCP caucus clamouring for action.

“We are focused on getting through the fourth wave of COVID-19, not politics,” said Kenney.

Kenney promoted Labour Minister Jason Copping to health and put Shandro in his old portfolio in labour.

Kenney said bringing in vaccine passports has had a dramatic effect on the number of people getting vaccinated.

A total of 23,000 people were vaccinated on Monday with 78,000 jabs being given out in the last few days.

A total of 81.4% of people have received at least one vaccine with 72.8% having two jabs.

Since they were made available on Sunday, more than two million Albertans printed out their vaccination passports, Kenney said.

He said Alberta Health Services has expanded the number of ICU beds in the province to 337.

Copping said he was honoured to be named health minister in this “pivotal time.”

He said he has three goals: to increase hospital capacities permanently, educate the unvaccinated on why they should get jabs and to prepare the hospital system for any future waves of COVID.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said 29 Albertans had died in the last 24 hours from COVID-19, including people who had been doubled-vaxxed, but included many people who hadn’t received any vaccinations at all.

She said the province had identified 1,500 new cases in the last day from 13,600 tests for an 11.1% positivity rate.

There are 996 people in hospital as of September 21 with COVID, and 222 in ICU.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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