GP academic under fire for pharma criticism
A GP academic fears his position at the University of Queensland may be under threat if he doesn’t apologise to CSL for criticising its marketing of the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil.
CSL wrote a letter of complaint to the university’s vice-chancellor and president after Brisbane GP Dr Andrew Gunn made the comments on ABC Radio last December.
Dr Gunn, a senior lecturer in general practice, criticised CSL’s marketing for suggesting the vaccine was a total solution to cervical cancer and Pap smears could become unnecessary.
CSL’s letter said Dr Gunn’s comments were “inappropriate and inconsistent with the long-standing relationship CSL has with the University of Queensland”, which played a major role in developing the vaccine.
The university then wrote to Dr Gunn asking him to apologise to CSL and explain that his views were his own.
Dr Gunn would not reveal whether he had sent a written apology but said he felt pressured to do so.
“If I don’t do what I’m told, then I don’t think it takes clinical paranoia to imagine my university title might be under threat.
“This experience has already changed how I do things. It’s intensified my interest in drug marketing and this will become the major focus of my academic research. I’m also writing another radio commentary on the subject.”
A CSL spokeswoman said the company had not received an apology from Dr Gunn.
CSL’s complaint about Dr Gunn’s comments had been based on concerns for public safety and the accuracy of information about its products, she said.
The university declined to comment.
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