Drug advertising works

On April 27, “CTV News and Current Affairs” and CTV’s “Canada AM” aired an interview with Joel Lexchin, an emergency physician and professor in York’s School of Health Policy & Management, about a new American study that showed drug advertising works. In 1999-2000, the 50 most-advertised drugs saw sales rise 24.6 per cent compared to 4.3 per cent for other drugs. Lexchin said the numbers “show that if you promote your product that you’ll get more sales out of it. That’s why the companies do it. They are spending in the United States currently about $3.5-billion per year promoting drugs. That adds to the cost of the products. Plus, the drugs that they’re promoting are the ones that are newest and most expensive, which are not necessarily any better than the older, less expensive products. They are just more expensive. We know less about their side effects. They are riskier. It ends up costing the system more money.”

Also, in the second of a three-part series called The Pill Chill, Lexchin commented in the National Post April 28 on how the advent of blockbuster pills used by huge numbers of people may also be bringing to the fore safety problems that would stay latent with less-prescribed medicine. Between 1993 and 2002, 16 drugs were taken from the market for safety reasons, according to a study published recently in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Lexchin said that is more than twice as many as in each of the previous two decades.

Stadium decision today?

The date is not set in stone, but Friday seems to be the soft deadline for the Argos to announce their stadium plans, reported The Toronto Sun April 28. Bud Purves, the president of York University’s Development Corporation, hinted Wednesday he needs to know by the end of the week whether the Argos are in or out of the school’s proposed 25,000-seat outdoor stadium project. “We’re working towards that,” Purves said. “We would have to make our own assumptions if we don’t hear from them.”

Argos co-owner Howard Sokolowski declined comment when reached by The Toronto Sun Wednesday, but called Purves. “He said he would speak to me later,” Purves said. “He said he wants to clarify some things.”

The Argos said in a statement last week they are evaluating an attractive offer from the Rogers Centre to remain tenants at the downtown facility. Last year, the Argos committed $20 million to help build the York stadium. A report Wednesday, however, indicated negotiations between the Argos and the Rogers Centre have hit a stumbling block. “Howard knows our schedule and what we have to do,” Purves said. “I’m absolutely positive he will be getting back to us, so we can know what we’re doing. It’s not a good situation and I feel sorry for a lot of people. I’m hoping we can make the best of it.”

  • If the Argos pull out of a deal to pay the final $20 million of the $70-million, 25,000-seat York University stadium, Edmonton will continue to lobby hard for the right to host the final of the 2007 FIFA world under-20 soccer championship, wrote sports columnist Keith Bradford of The Edmonton Sun April 28.

ESL teachers are lifeline for newcomers

English-as-a-second-language teachers are the “anchor point and lifeline” for newscomers’ transition and success in their new home, says Heather Lotherington, a professor of multilingual education at York University, reported the Toronto Star April 28. Unfortunately, ESL teachers are often under-appreciated in the education system, she said. The key for educators is to “engage multiculturalism” in teaching and to “practise what we teach,” Lotherington said.

L’Oreal competition lures student teams from York

“I am hoping to work at L’Oreal,” says Shobana Narayan-Lakkavally, a fourth-year student at York University competing Thursday in Montreal at the Canadian finals of the L’Oreal Brandstorm competition, reported the Toronto Star April 28. At last year’s international competition, 116 people from 26 countries gained employment, including all three Canadian members of last year’s global competition. York University students Anna Waskow, Yasna Beheshti and Pooja Subramanian wowed judges in 2004 when they won both the Canadian and global competitions for creating a marketing strategy to create a men’s night-time skin-care line for Biotherm Homme. “I had other offers,” explained Waskow, 23, who works as a marketing assistant for L’Oreal in Montreal. However, the passionate people she met at the company during the competition convinced her L’Oreal was the place to work.

That’s the point of the competition, explained Ajay Sirsi, marketing professor at York University and coach to York’s Brandstorm competitors. “Employment branding is about how a company can be an attractive employer to the employee,” explained Sirsi. “If you look at Generation Y, which is who these students are, they want organizations that will be creative and flexible.” This contest gives students exposure to the company, and to the culture it offers, Sirsi said. Winners of Thursday’s competition will represent Canada at the global competition in Paris in June.

‘Smart’ for Telus to sponsor science centres, says Middleton

Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, said sponsoring science centres in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal is a smart move for Telus, reported The Globe and Mail and Canadian Press April 28. “The association with science is the interesting thing about this. As a point of difference to Bell, they will want to position themselves as the leading edge opportunity in telecommunications.”

On air

  • Jamie Cameron, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, discussed how Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms may be causing problems with court decisions in enforcing constitutional rights, on ROB-TV’s “SqueezePlay, April 27.