Furthermore, industry lobbyists are campaigning for the abolition of Health Canada's current regulations that prohibit direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs. DTCA is an extremely effective and successful promotional tool for drug companies, as evidenced by data on drug promotion and prescription rates in the United States and New Zealand, the only two countries that allow DTCA of prescription drugs. It is important to note, though, that drug companies often mask DTCA as "public education" or "health education," when the advertisements downplay side effects and exaggerate benefits of medications.
According to this op-ed, "Health Canada wrapped up its “stakeholder” consultations in late January. The pro-industry recommendations that will emerge are almost certain to get two thumbs up from the present federal government."
For additional information on the approval of Vioxx by Health Canada and FDA, the involvement of industry, and the marketing of Vioxx, take a look at Vioxx: Lessons for Health Canada and the FDA.