“Medical research in clown shoes” (UPDATE)

Oh, this has caused a stir…

The Australian site The Conversation has seen fit to take down this piece by Mick Vagg. It has been preserved here.

FreezePage: Conversation suspended page –
Quackademic medicine…coming soon to a uni near you

The recent memorandum of understanding signed between supplement company Swisse and La Trobe University to establish a Complementary Medicine Evidence Centre (CMEC) looks to me like the latest effort by a corporation to cloak their business interests in a veil of science. Unlike the UTS Sydney Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM), which at least has significant NHMRC funding, the La Trobe version will undertake “independent research” into complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) products that are made by the major (and so far only) donor to the Centre. Southern Cross University also has a very close relationship with the Blackmores brand of CAM products, due to the personal interest of Marcus Blackmore, the company Chairman. Blackmores claims to spend a lazy couple of million a year on their branded research centre. The Blackmores Research Centre studies Blackmores products. Presumably this situation (so similar to the proposed La Trobe model) is a coincidence since the research centre is providing completely “independent” research.

Vagg notes how none of the “Big Pharma” companies have their own fully-funded research facilities at a university. This is a clear case of conflict of interest. It’s so obvious that Dr. Ken Harvey has resigned from his position of Adjunct Associate Professor in the Swisse – Latrobe University Partnership.

It’s obviously a scathing takedown of La Trobe University.

UPDATE just after this was posted: Mick Vagg notes that there were no complaints on the piece but it is being updated.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 7.14.38 AM

  3 comments for ““Medical research in clown shoes” (UPDATE)

  1. February 5, 2014 at 7:28 AM

    I’m hoping to interview Ken about this in the very near future, I’ll keep you posted!

  2. Andrew W
    February 5, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    The story for the Conversation story by Mick Vagg, is still down as of 12:30 CST AU, but the following piece on the Swiss-Latrobe Funding Controversy, is up on The Conversation.

    http://theconversation.com/academics-back-professor-over-swisse-research-collaboration-22815

    • February 6, 2014 at 5:03 AM

      Mr. Vagg’s story is now back at the original link, 5 Feb 06:28 GMT

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