Pharma funnels millions into university sponsorship

The independence of Swiss universities from the corporate world has again been called into question as details of pharmaceutical sponsorship deals were broadcast by a Swiss public television channel. The programme found evidence that one firm may have manipulated academic research data, reports Swissinfo.ch.

Research by Swiss public television channel SRF shows financial links between pharma giants – such as Roche, Novartis, Merck Serono and even the industry lobby group Interpharma – and several leading universities. Pharma funding paid for professorial seats and-or research at the universities of Bern and Basel, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne or EPFL.

The grants ranged from CHF450,000 (US$461,000) annually to a CHF12.5 million contract that runs for 25 years. This last sum was paid by Merck Serono for chairs in neuroscience, drug delivery and oncology at EPFL. The most damning revelation is that Merck Serono demanded to see research every three months and reserved the right to make “acceptable alterations” to results.
Full report on the Swissinfo.ch site