The Alberta government has for years allowed the foundation of wealthy Calgary oilman Allan Markin to offer a private, unproven alternative health program, which some experts say is effectively a research “experiment” that has potentially risked the health of tens of thousands of people, including the homeless, addicted and seniors.
A CBC News investigation has found Alberta Health determined the program offered by the Calgary-based Pure North S’Energy Foundation:
•Was not adequately supported by science.
•Couldn’t prove the health and economic outcomes it claimed.
•Distributed high doses of vitamin D and other nutrients in a way that could pose a health risk.
Yet despite this, and against the advice of senior ministry officials, the government of Premier Alison Redford gave Pure North a $10-million grant in December 2013 to further expand an existing program, which was ultimately offered to more than 7,300 Alberta seniors — without any ethical oversight.
“Without supporting documentation from peer-reviewed scientific literature and a detailed list of what will actually be done in the clinics, it is impossible to judge the possible outcomes, likely effectiveness, or risks to patients and the funder (Alberta Health) should things go wrong,” Talbot wrote in an email to Alberta Health deputy minister Janet Davidson.
Private Health, Public Risk?