The Canadian pharmaceutical industry pays doctors and health-care organizations tens of millions of dollars a year for a variety of services. Doctors are paid for giving speeches, acting as consultants, spearheading treatment clinical trials, and teaching medical- education courses, and are reimbursed for travel expenses. Health-care organizations such as hospitals and university medical faculties also receive funding.

There has been considerable concern expressed about this practice, even from within the medical profession, as conflicts of interest are possible. Some studies have found a link between the payments and prescriptions. In response, Innovative Medicines Canada has attempted to self regulate by implementing a voluntary framework on disclosure of payments. Innovative Medicines Canada represents the 45 Arms who discover, develop, and deliver innovative medicines and vaccines, also referred to as brand name pharmaceutical firms.

Only 10 of the forms have endorsed the disclosure initiative. The information disclosed is not easily accessible as it is on the of the individual Arms and not easily found. Dollar amounts of the payments are disclosed but no names or reasons for the payments are given. Several prominent physicians and researchers have established Open Pharma to advocate for greater disclosure in the health-care system. Its mission is “Transparency to Protect Trust and Enhance Science.” The Canadian Medical Association (CMLA) Mac endorsed the need or greater transparency.

Canadian governments are reluctant to become involved. The federal government states that the issue is a provincial matter. Only two provinces are considering legislation to require disclosure: Ontario and British Columbia In the United States all payments over $10 must be disclosed with names. Similar to requirement in other countries. Critics claim that the innovative Medicines Canada initiative is a public-relations effort to stave over legislation and not to improve transparency. The CMA says that it is continuing to improve transparency. 


1. Who are the stakeholders influenced by the issue and/or who can influence the issue?
2. Is greater transparency needed in the pharmaceutical industry?
3.How does this issue affect the industry’s reputation?
4. Is the industry socially responsible?
5.What is the best approach to achieving greater transparency? 

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