ethics, appointment, Bernard Prigent, Pfizer, CIHR, Governing Council
In October 2009, the academic health research community and the pharmaceutical industry were brought closer together with the appointment of Dr. Bernard Prigent, vice-president of Pfizer Canada, to the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). This bridging of the two worlds has stirred up considerable debate before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, in letters to CMAJ and in an online petition that garnered more than 4400 signatures. There are at least two distinct and vocal camps in the debate: those categorically in favour (including the federal minister of health and the president of CIHR) and those opposed to the appointment of someone from the pharmaceutical industry (including several senior Canada Research Chairs with a specialization in ethics and senior persons within CIHR). There are also some who support the appointment of a person with professional ties to the pharmaceutical industry, but not to this particular company (Pfizer) because of its history of ethical and legal violations.
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Elaine Gibson, "Concepts of Bias and Appointments to the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research" (2010) 182:17 CMAJ E793.