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Feb-19-2012 17:54printcomments

Deadly Conflict of Interest in Nova Scotia Over Prescription Drug Monitoring?

"Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die." Pierre Trudeau

Peter MacDougall, PhD, MD and Head of Nova Scotia's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
Peter MacDougall, PhD, MD and Head of Nova Scotia's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program as well as the"Collaborative Chronic Pain Network" -- funded by the maker of OxyContin. Conflict of Interest?

(MYRTLE BEACH, SC) - In July 2011, I wrote about the maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, keeping the drugs flowing in Nova Scotia as a huge epidemic of death, addiction and abuse is being fought. (Link provided below). Purdue Pharma Canada made a "generous" donation to the QEII Pain Clinic in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the amount of $130,000. Their support of the treatment of chronic pain is their claim that one in five Nova Scotians suffer from chronic pain. In addition to enhancing the pain clinic, the donation from Purdue Pharma Canada will be used to expand the Nova Scotia Chronic Pain Collaborative Care Network (NSCPCCN) across Canada.

Nova Scotia has a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in place to prevent the diversion of prescription drugs -- and the head of the program is Peter MacDougall, PhD, MD and a Staff Anesthesiologist for the QEII Health Sciences Centre as well as an Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University.

His clinical and research interests are in the area of chronic pain, particularly the development of networks between community physicians and specialists and the prevention of chronic post-operative pain syndromes. Dr. MacDougall is the Director of the Nova Scotia Chronic Pain Collaborative Care Network

There is a problem here -- and that is the good doctor heading the "Nova Scotia Chronic Pain Collaborative Chronic Pain Network (NSCPCCPN wears two hats -- and the hats may very well read "Conflict of Interest." NSCPCCN is funded by Purdue Pharma, maker of the drug crippling not only Nova Scotia, but the entire country of Canada. So the physician advising Nova Scotia on their prescription drug epidemic through the Nova Scotia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is also the same physician working for the pain network set up by the pharmaceutical company responsible for their OxyContin epidemic in Nova Scotia.

"Purdue is pleased to continue working in partnership with educational institutions and hospital foundations in the province to support programs such as the Nova Scotia Chronic Pain Collaborative Care Network which improves patient care, as well as encourages the safe and appropriate use of medicines" said Dr. Cornelia Hentzsch, president, Purdue Pharma Canada.

It was reported this week that OxyContin is being replaced as of next month by its maker, Purdue Pharma, with the new drug OxyNeo, which is supposedly harder to crush and as a result difficult to inhale or inject by those looking to beat the controlled release formula.

Ontario and others don't buy the Purdue Pharma "undertreatment of pain" propaganda and are fighting back

There is help for Canada and, in particular Nova Scotia, and it's not coming from Purdue Pharma and their distorted version of helping fight the epidemic they created. Rather it is coming from people taking up a legitimate fight for human life.

Because of the high addiction rates to OxyContin, the Ontario Drug Benefit Program has dropped funding for both versions of Purdue Pharma's dangerous drug. Hopefully, Nova Scotia and other provinces will follow Ontario's lead sooner -- rather than later.

A woman from Nova Scotia named Amy Graves is making a difference in the tsunami of prescription drug overdoses and deaths in Canada and keeping families safe from the drug epidemic. Her website is

There is a well organized group called "Advocates for the Reform of Prescription Opioids (ARPO). Their website is Ada Giudice-Tompson is Vice-President

Wagners Law Firm in Halifax has filed a class action suit against the maker of OxyContin for the false promotion of the drug which has resulted in an epidemic of addiction and death in Canada. Their website is

I encourage anyone dealing with the prescription drug epidemic in Canada, to refer to these websites and become involved. The lives of your family members may depend upon your joining forces with those who can make change. Change will not come from any pharmaceutical company such as Purdue Pharma who places their people in positions to perpetuate the drugs flowing in Canada -- thus raising their profits.

Call it what you will, but wearing two hats working for Nova Scotia as well as the company responsible for the drug epidemic -- equates to conflict of interest.

LP -- For knowing before I did that "no man is an island." Sometimes I'm just slow at picking up the signs -- thanks for the feather. I love you.

_________________________________ Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin and Purdue Pharma throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's - Michael Friedman, Howard Udell and Paul Goldenheim - who pleaded guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 8-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.

Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.

Marianne Skolek
National Activist for Victims of OxyContin and
Purdue Pharma - a criminally convicted pharmaceutical company
Staff Writer,

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Jake Bard March 5, 2012 10:05 am (Pacific time)

Thank you for this article - Your readers may be interested in watching the Fifth Estate television show this Friday, March 09 - on this very topic as it has played itself out in London, Ontario - Details on -

David-My Story February 20, 2012 9:25 am (Pacific time)

After completing 4 years at the University of Northern Colorado for my Bachelor of Science, 1 year at Johns Hopkins University for my Masters in Health Science, and 2 ½ years into my Ph.D. in respiratory medicine at the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University, I thought I had complete control of my life. Specifically, my career in aerosol respiratory medicine. I had published my first paper in a respectable peer reviewed medical journal (Chest) when I was 27. Several months after that, I presented the paper at a medical conference in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. It was one of 9 trips I would take to Germany to consult with a medical company established in Starnberg, Germany. By the time I was in my second year of my Ph.D. I had published/presented 54 medical papers, published 6 peer reviewed medical papers, was contributing author on one book, owned and operated my own consulting company in respiratory medicine, developed a patent for respiratory devices, and was progressing successfully in my Ph.D. I was 31 years old and I was proud of my accomplishments and my continuing success in respiratory medicine. But, that was all about to change. Addiction would enter my life and take away from me my possessions, my profession, my loved ones, and my sanity. My pathway to addiction started when I made an appointment to see Dr. Cary Suter, M.D. for migraine headaches. I put great trust in him due to the fact that he was the medical schools doctor and was responsible for taking care of the students enrolled in the medical school programs. In a timeframe of 8 months I was prescribed 6,647 controlled substance pills. I had pills to help me stay awake and study, pills for helping me sleep, pills for anxiety, and pills for pain. I knew about addiction but I thought I was too intelligent to become addicted. Anyway, these pills were provided to me by the schools doctor who said he had taken pills when he was in medical school to help him succeed. My ignorance would cause me to lose almost a decade of my life and would bring me close to death many times as a result of my severe drug addiction. Although Dr. Suter lost his medical license for over prescribing controlled substances and not monitoring that prescribing, it was too late for me. I had to drop out of my Ph.D. program due to my addiction. Dr. Suter lost his license 3 months after I dropped out of the program. At this point in my life, I had to confront and accept some very disturbing facts: I no longer was pursuing the goal I had been following for the past 15 years, I was severely addicted to prescription drugs, the doctor who had been prescribing me the drugs had his medical license revoked, and the main focus of my life was to obtain drugs. I was, in essence, trapped in the severity of my addiction. For the first time I had lost complete control over my life. My first of numerous addiction related detrimental events came when I was presenting a medical paper at a conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Before my lecture I forged a prescription on my computer and proceeded to the pharmacy to have it filled. Since the prescription was for Demerol, the pharmacy called the doctor and verified the prescription was forged. The police were waiting for me (at the conference lecture hall) to finish my lecture and when I did they handcuffed and arrested me. I was taken out in front of all my colleagues and conference members and taken to jail. Needless to say I was immediately fired from my job as a senior aerosol scientist for a prominent German company established in the United States. For many years I was doctor shopping. I would acquire my drugs in many ways: the internet, hospital emergency rooms, forged prescriptions, clinics, private doctors, and in other countries. I would stay employed by various companies because of my experience in respiratory medicine. But, I would ultimately get fired when my drug addiction interfered with the quality of my work. Eventually, word of my addiction became known to my colleagues and the respiratory medicine industry. From that point on, I was not called upon to lecture, to consult, or in any way work in the respiratory medicine industry. I was, for all intents and purposes, “blackballed” from my profession. Shunned from my profession, disenchanted from my family and friends, and homeless, I fell into a deep depression. It was at this time that I wrote a suicide note and attempted to commit suicide. Over the next 9 years I would attempt suicide 1 more time, have 35 toxic overdoses, and 45 seizures. All of which brought me close to death each time. During the 9 years of my addiction, I would periodically give the rehabilitations a try. Nine times I made a serious effort to get sober. But, every time I would relapse within weeks of being discharged. After 9 years of being an addict, I completely surrendered to my disease and came to the understanding that my addiction was not going to be successfully addressed in weeks or even in a couple months of treatment. I realized that my recovery would require at least a year in a long term residential program where I could work on my addiction issues every day with no distractions. I found that in a year-long cognitive/behavioral rehabilitation program. This program not only worked on my addiction issues but also worked on my cognitive/behavioral issues that caused me to seek out the drugs. Currently, my life is finally in a direction I can be proud of. I graduated from a year-long in-patient residential cognitive/behavioral rehabilitation facility. My sobriety restored my clarity of thought and determination. Two attributes which are essential for completing my autobiography, “From Hopkins To Homeless: My True Story Of Prescription Drug Addiction”. I believe I can inspire and educate others about addiction and recovery with my memoir. My future is completely open with possibilities. I do know that I am very thrilled and inspired living life as a sober individual since December 25, 2007. And, for the first the first time in over 9 years I have a sense of self-confidence and respect for myself. This confidence reminds me that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. For this reason, I have enrolled and been accepted to complete my doctorate in public health education. It has been a long, arduous, and self-revealing journey through my 9 years of addiction to recovery. Unfortunately along the way I became deceitful, dishonest, unreliable, and untrustworthy. On the other hand I can proclaim that through my suffering and adversity came great rewards and prosperity. Today, I will continue to advocate for those affected by this disease of addiction. It is a passion and a pathway that I will pursue for the rest of my life. Please visit www.fromhopkinstohomeless for further information about my story

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