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    Clive Deverall

    How many institutes, NGOs, universities etc have published, readily accessible policies on how they interact with pharmaceutical companies? Are there any on the websites? Or do they, as it appears the Baker Institute does, and “Take the devil’s money to do God’s work”? The Baker Institute’s ‘slam-dunk’ move – so finely orchestrated and probably a fait accompli should be of great concern to health consumer groups and the community as a whole. The scheduled ad for Friday’s Australian Dr with the Baker’s logo alogside that of the drug company says it all. Yes – a picture is worth a 1000 words. Big (& small) Pharma is well aware of its reputation. As Bill Curtis (of Medical Communications company) Curtis Jones Brown said: “In Australia the industry is seen as manipulative, dark, menacing…” And a reflection from a Vice President of Schering-Plough..”One industry that is ahead of us by a long way is the tobacco industry. Now that scares the hell out of me. I am appalled by our reputation”. Yes – we literally cannot live in terms of research funding and professional education in the health sector without support from the pharmaceutical companies but lets see some published policies from those that want the money.

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    While busy congratulating themselves on developing “an innovative donation arrangement” perhaps they could’ve spent more time wondering why nobody else has tried it before.

    There are so many other ways in which Baker could obtain sponsorship funds from sanofi-aventis that would not impinge on anyone’s credibility.

    The statements on the Baker Institute website seem more focused on alaying concerns about Pharmaco funding in general – but really misses the point that will get them into hot water – it’s not just that its money from a Pharmaco, there is just no way to avoid a conflict of interest when you link sponsorship revenue to (prescription) product sales.

    Nevermind pressure from the drug company, if Baker’s own in-house finance department lets their scientists work on projects could potentially reduce Plavix scripts, and therefore their own revenue, one might question their competence (though that could provide a further explanation as to why the Institute needs to seek industry funding).


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