Less than a week after a stink was made that an appointee to an Alberta health advisory committee is a registered lobbying for Eli Lilly, the appointee has stepped down. "It was an inappropriate appointment," Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason (in photo at left) tells theCanadian Broadcasting Corp. "I think there's a clear conflict of interest to have a lobbyist for a major pharmaceutical corporation on this committee."
Patricia Bayne, a senior manager of policy and public affairs at Lilly’s Canadian unit, was named to a nine-member advisory committee formed to sift through recommendations for an Alberta Health Act. And the committee, which was appointed by Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky, will identify policy issues the government needs to address and provide advice on the new legislation (background).
But in a news release, Patricia Bayne was identified as a "community member," and her role with Lilly wasn't disclosed, although her name shows up on the province's lobbyist web site (see here).
Mason calls the government "deceptive" for not disclosing Bayne's affiliation and that her inclusion was part of a push to privatize the province's health care system. Bayne was also a member of the Minister's Advisory Committee on Health last fall. Fred Horne, a Edmonton Progressive Conservative MLA and chhair of the advisory committee, tells CBCd he was aware of Bayne's background but didn't think it put her in a conflict of interest.
"Not at all," said Horne. "There are people from all sectors that were represented on that original minister's advisory committee and there were other members who are part of organizations that are registered with the lobbyist's registry including the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta."
Bayne also has a background in community and women's health. Horne accused the Alberta NDP of playing politics because it didn't raise her drug company connections as an issue until now, even though she has been a member of the minister's advisory committee since last fall. "I take with some regret that she's chosen not to continue but I know that she's made this decision because she doesn't want anything to affect the credibility of the work that we're about to do here," he tells the CBC.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2010/05/03/edmonton-ndp-advisory-committee-resign.html#ixzz0mxbDOopH