A chief health academic has resigned over perceived conflicts in a $15 million complementary health research deal.

Dr Ken Harvey has left his post at Victoria’s LaTrobe University after the institution agreed to conduct research on the products of vitamin-manufacturer Swisse.

Swisse will provide $15 million over six years to LaTrobe’s new Complementary Medicines Evaluation Centre in exchange for the independent studies.

But Dr Harvey says the university cannot maintain its objectivity and independence with so much money on the line, and would be under un-shakeable pressure to come to positive conclusions.

“A partnership with a university to examine quality and efficacy of their products really has great problems of conflicts of interest,” Dr Harvey said.

“Contract research for industry can be specifically designed to provide a particular result,” he said in his resignation to the university, reported by New Corp media outlets.

“You will be aware that industry sponsored research is more likely to report positive outcomes than were trials funded by other sources,” he said.

Dr Harvey has spoken out previously about the need for better controls on alternative, complementary and therapeutic medicines, also arguing for regulation and control over relationships between health professionals and industry groups such as Swisse.

LaTrobe’s research will remain independent, according to Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Keith Nugent.

“We will very carefully ensure that we are given complete independence around the publication of the data and the design of the experiments and the results good or bad, and we'll make those publicly available,” he said.

Statements from Swisse say the company expects the same.

“Swisse has committed to be founding partner of CMEC at La Trobe University which is exactly what the industry needs and what our detractors have been asking for,” a spokesperson said.

“The project is a fantastic positive and it's a real shame it's being used to try to damage the reputation and outstanding work of La Trobe University.”