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Industry group recognizes BC drug task force chair

An industry group has given a leadership award to the person who chaired B.C.'s pharmaceutical task force, an award one researcher says is outrageous.

Don Avison won a 2010 LifeSciences B.C. award. Among his many accomplishments, the announcement said, was chairing the 2008 task force that was “assembled to engage in an exploration of the province's pharmaceutical policy to provide advice to government on how best to maximize value for patients and value for money.”

LifeSciences' members include companies that work in the pharmaceutical, biomedical and bioenergy industries.

“I have no problem with the industry awarding their own people,” said health policy researcher and author Alan Cassels. “Just don't say you're doing it in the public interest. That's Orwellian. We're not that stupid.”

The task force, which was stacked with people with drug industry connections, slowed down attempts by PharmaCare to get value for money and attacked the Therapeutics Initiative at UBC that provided independent advice on drugs, Cassels said. “They've been nothing but obstructive.”

Avison, a former LifeSciences board member, took an appointment to the international advisory board for the drug company Pfizer Global the Tyee reported in November.

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

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