Know Your Drugs is a global awareness campaign that was developed by Canadians for Vanessa’s Law in collaboration with RxISK.

Vanessa’s Law (Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act) is named after Vanessa Young, who died on March 19, 2000 when she was 15 years old of a heart attack caused by Prepulsid, a prescription drug that Health Canada removed from the market on August 7, 2000.

Vanessa’s father Terence Young, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Oakville, Ontario from 2008 to 2015, introduced the federal law as a Private Member’s Bill (C-17) on December 6, 2013.

There are four components to this global awareness campaign that you can get involved with:

1 – Promote

Promote the Know Your Drugs global awareness campaign.

The information and links at KnowYourDrugs.org will help save lives and make people more aware of the need for them to research the side effects of prescription drugs they are taking and how important it is for them to report adverse drug reactions.

Anyone considering altering the dosage of a prescription drug they are taking, or withdrawing from it, should seek medical advice first.

Withdrawal side effects, which are also important to report, can be severe and last a long time, which makes many people think their illness, disease or disorder is getting worse again. Benzodiazapine Withdrawal Syndrome is a good example.

2 – Presentation

Share the Know Your Drugs video presentation.

The first part of the presentation explains WHY it is important to “Know Your Drugs” and the last part explains HOW to “Know Your Drugs” as a consumer, parent, guardian, or caregiver.

Contact us if you would like a PDF of the PowerPoint slides in the video presentation.

Brown Bag Lunches

One of the ways the PowerPoint slide presentation is being delivered is at 30 minute “Prescription Drug Safety” Brown Bag Lunches at companies.

After the slide presentation, there is a discussion about prescription drug safety including how having employees who make informed choices about prescription drug use will enhance wellness, reduce absenteeism (including long-term disability) and improve productivity.

Contact us if you would like a copy of the PowerPoint slide presentation so you can facilitate a Brown Bag Lunch at a company in your community.

3 – Research and Report

Encourage people to Research prescription drug side effects and to Report adverse drug reactions so the side effects of drugs can be effectively monitored after governments approve them and they start being marketed.

4 – Know Your Drugs Day

Promote Know Your Drugs Day on November 6, which is the date that Vanessa’s Law received Royal Assent in 2014.

On this day annually, people in countries around the world will be encouraged to research the side effects of prescription drugs at RxISK.org.


Even though Know Your Drugs Day is just one day a year, it is important for people to research drug side effects frequently.


Canadians for Vanessa’s Law is the lead charitable organization for the Know Your Drugs global awareness campaign.

The Board of Directors are:

  • Dr. Nancy Olivieri
  • Dr. Elia Abi-Jaoude
  • Dr. Leslie Balmer
  • Dr. Joel Lexchin

The Executive Director is David Carmichael.


Canadians make informed choices about prescription drug use.


Helping Canadians make informed choices about prescription drug use by educating them about Vanessa’s Law and prescription drug safety.


To advance education by providing educational materials, presentations, workshops, and consultations to Canadians on the:

  • Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa’s Law) and its implications on Canada’s health care system;
  • Safe and effective use of prescription drugs; and
  • Risks and benefits of prescription drugs.


RxISK is owned and operated by Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd., based in Toronto, Canada.

The founding members of the medical and research team are:

  • Dr. David Healy
  • Dr. Derelie (Dee) Mangin
  • Dr. Kalman Applbaum
  • Dr. Ralph Edwards
  • Dr. Brenda Gallie
  • Robert Whitaker
  • Dr. Joanna Le Noury
  • Dr. Nancy Olivieri

RxISK.org is a free, independent website where people can research prescription drugs and report a drug side effect – identifying problems and possible solutions when it might still be possible to intervene and find a solution.