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CMAJ. 1996 Aug 1;155(3):299-301.

Funding medical and health-related research in the public interest.

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  • 1University of British Columbia, Vancouver.


Public funding for medical and health-related research in Canada is declining. At the same time, the pharmaceutical industry is directing increasing amounts of money to publicly funded agencies such as universities and the Medical Research Council of Canada. However, the kinds of research most valuable to commercial firms may not be those most valuable to the Canadian public. There is a danger that research priorities and activities in public institutions may become skewed as a result of increased drug-industry funding. Mechanisms need to be found to ensure an appropriate balance between the research that is most valuable to the public interest and to the long-term advancement of knowledge, and the research that is likely to lead to marketable products. One such mechanism is the direction of a proportion of the money from drug companies to a "no-strings-attached" fund specifically to support types of research that are in the public interest but not likely to lead to marketable products.

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