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CCSVI News: Opposition calls decision to withhold funding for MS clinical trials 'devastating'

Posted Sep 03 2010 12:00am

Opposition critics say the decision by the federal government not to fund Canada-wide clinical trials of a controversial  multiple sclerosis  treatment is a huge setback for the thousands of patients suffering from the debilitating neurological disorder.

"I think it's devastating for MS patients," said Liberal public health critic Kirsty Duncan. "This is a body-blow to a lot of people that think this treatment really works."

Duncan said the hundreds of Canadians already travelling to get the surgical treatment in Bulgaria, Poland and India should be tracked to determine if the Italian-developed procedure works.

"If Canada wants to know if this works, why are we not tracking the patients that go overseas?" she said. "We have to have evidence-based medicine and we're not collecting the evidence."

On Wednesday, Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced the federal government has decided to accept the recommendations of its premier health research organization that there be no pan-Canadian clinical trials of the controversial new therapy because of the overwhelming lack of scientific evidence on the procedure's safety.

"I feel the most prudent course of action at this time is to accept the recommendation of the country's leading researchers," Aglukkaq told a news conference in Ottawa.

Backed by experts from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the MS Society of Canada, she said the government would wait for the results of seven Canadian research projects looking into the efficacy of the so-called liberation treatment before clinical trials proceed.


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