Health policy experts told CMAJ that parliamentary oversight of cost recovery is particularly important given the potential for conflicts of interest as Canada looks to increase its dependence on industry fees. “The more you get your money from a private source, the more you may consciously or unconsciously see yourself as being in service to that funding body,” says Dr. Joel Lexchin, a professor of health policy at York University in Toronto …
A recent federal audit revealed that less than 20% of Health Canada staff received mandatory ethics training, and many conflicts of interest declared by employees took too long to resolve.
The fact that industry is arguing that fee penalties ensure faster review times “means they actually perceive what researchers like Joel Lexchin and others fear, which is when you get more money from industry, they get their drugs to market faster,” Morgan says. “It’s that kind of language that’s concerning, and that’s the kind of thing that would need to be pushed back.”