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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 205–208 | Cite as

Tobacco Industry Links to Faculties of Medicine in Canada

  • Pamela E. Kaufman
  • Joanna E. Cohen
  • Mary Jane Ashley
  • Roberta Ferrence
  • Alison L. Halyk
  • Fernand Turcotte
  • Kenneth L. Kyle
  • Donna E. Stewart
Article

Abstract

Background

The tobacco industry uses various strategies to promote itself as a socially responsible, ethical industry, including establishing links with health institutions and medical research. The purpose of this study was to identify the relationships between the tobacco industry and Canadian faculties of medicine, specifically research funding and donations from tobacco industry sources, and faculty-specific policies regarding the acceptance of tobacco industry funds.

Methods

Information about policies and practices regarding research funding and donations from 1996–1999 was requested from the 16 Canadian faculties of medicine and their parent universities, as part of a larger cross-sectional survey-centred study that examined links between the tobacco industry and Canadian universities.

Results

All 16 faculties of medicine (100%) reported on research funding and 11/16 (70%) reported on donations from the tobacco industry. Twenty-five percent (4/16) of the faculties received research funding from the tobacco industry and 27% (3/11) received donations. No Canadian medical school had a policy that banned tobacco industry research funding or donations.

Interpretation

The tobacco industry have made donations and given research funding to faculties of medicine in Canada. This may present major conflicts of interest that undermine public health and have implications for the scientific integrity of the medical research enterprise. Faculties of medicine should consider developing policies that prohibit tobacco industry research funding and donations, with the intent of preventing conflicts and precluding ethical dilemmas arising from links with the tobacco industry. They should also encourage parent universities to establish similar policies at an institutional level.

Résumé

Contexte

L’industrie du tabac fait appel à diverses stratégies pour projeter l’image d’une industrie socialement responsable et éthique, notamment en tissant des liens avec des établissements sanitaires et des chercheurs médicaux. Nous avons voulu cerner les relations entre l’industrie du tabac et les facultés de médecine du Canada, tout particulièrement les fonds de recherche et les dons provenant de l’industrie du tabac, ainsi que les politiques des facultés à l’égard de l’acceptation de l’argent de l’industrie du tabac.

Méthode

Dans le cadre d’une grande enquête transversale étudiant les liens entre l’industrie du tabac et les universités canadiennes, nous avons demandé aux 16 facultés de médecine canadiennes et à leurs universités mères de nous fournir de l’information sur leurs politiques et leurs pratiques concernant les fonds de recherche et les dons entre 1996 et 1999. Résultats: Les 16 facultés de médecine (100 %) ont répondu à la question sur les fonds de recherche, et 11 facultés sur 16 (70 %) à la question sur les dons de l’industrie du tabac. Vingt-cinq p. cent (4/16) des facultés avaient reçu des fonds de recherche de l’industrie du tabac, et 27 % (3/11) en avaient reçu des dons. Aucune école de médecine canadienne n’avait de politique interdisant les fonds de recherche ou les dons provenant de l’industrie du tabac.

Interprétation

L’industrie du tabac a fait des dons aux facultés de médecine du Canada et en a financé les recherches. Cette situation peut présenter d’importants conflits d’intérêt, dommageables pour la santé publique et pour l’intégrité scientifique de la recherche médicale. Les facultés de médecine devraient songer à élaborer des politiques interdisant les fonds de recherche et les dons de l’industrie du tabac, afin de prévenir les conflits et d’empêcher que les liens avec l’industrie du tabac ne posent un jour des dilemmes éthiques. Elles devraient également inciter leurs universités mères à se doter de politiques institutionnelles semblables.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela E. Kaufman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joanna E. Cohen
    • 2
  • Mary Jane Ashley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Roberta Ferrence
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Alison L. Halyk
    • 1
    • 8
  • Fernand Turcotte
    • 4
  • Kenneth L. Kyle
    • 5
  • Donna E. Stewart
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Ontario Tobacco Research UnitUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of TorontoCanada
  3. 3.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Département de Médecine Sociale et PréventiveUniversité LavalLavalCanada
  5. 5.Canadian Cancer SocietyOttawaCanada
  6. 6.University Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  7. 7.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoCanada
  8. 8.Ministry of Management ServicesGovernment of British ColumbiaCanada

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