Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

BC government drug policy advisor appointed to Pfizer position

The person who led a review that provided controversial advice on British Columbia's pharmaceutical policies has a new position advising a large international drug company.

Don Avison confirmed in an e-mail that he was recently appointed as the Canadian representative on Pfizer Global's International Advisory Board. He did not respond to a second e-mail asking what he will be paid.

“That's very troubling,” said health policy researcher and author Alan Cassels. “Is this international advisory position payback for what he delivered in the task force report? Because that's what it looks like.”

Two years ago the B.C. government appointed Avison as the chair of a pharmaceutical task force that was to provide advice to the health ministry.

The panel's report, released last year, suggested cutting the amount paid for generic drugs and getting rid of the University of British Columbia's Therapeutics Initiative, a group of researchers who provide independent evidence-based advice about prescription drugs.

Critics told the Tyee the report appeared to be pandering to the interests of the brand-name drug companies.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus