Sunday, May 18, 2008
What happens when drugs, science and money mix?
"Our investigation discovered complex, seemingly ubiquitous, financial relationships between giant pharmaceutical companies and the scientific community tasked with establishing the safety of our drugs.
And the financial entanglements are not just pervasive, they are oftentimes virtually invisible.
Blind Faith also reveals a frightening escalation in the number of unsafe drugs being pulled from Canadian store shelves, an astounding number of medications that are routinely prescribed for unapproved uses and a federal bureaucracy that seems ill-equipped to offer Canadians the safeguards they deserve.
Much of our investigation focuses on McMaster University and the researchers who work there. You'll learn that in recent years the amount of money the pharmaceutical industry pours into McMaster and its teaching hospitals has almost quadrupled.
For many at McMaster, that explosion in funding is a source of genuine pride, emblematic of the university's stature in the scientific community.
But that explosion has also exacerbated the very real concerns many have about the uneasy relationship that sometimes exists between scientists and the people who pay for their research.
Initially, we focused our attention on Mac simply because it's in our back yard.
But what we discovered over the course of our investigation is that the university's outstanding success in attracting private funding has brought into particularly sharp focus many of the ethical issues such funding raises.
Universities across North America face increasing scrutiny in this area, and the scientific community is, itself, debating the implications of the increasingly cosy relationship it has with the pharmaceutical world. In Blind Faith, you'll come to understand why that is a conversation in which we should all participate."