CMA criticized for new pharma-supported CME program

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From the Globe and Mail: Medical association takes heat for Pfizer funding. Here's the meat:

Under the new CMA initiative, Pfizer Canada said it will provide $780,000 to fund the new “continuing medical education” or CME program, designed to inform physicians of new developments in medicine and help maintain their skills. Two Pfizer staff members will also sit on an administrative board, responsible for overseeing, implementing and evaluating the program, along with two staff members from the medical association and two individuals from outside organizations.

The program will be offered online and will focus on 12 different subjects. The first, expected to be made available early next year, will focus on Parkinson's disease. Other topics will be determined based on gaps identified by physicians in surveys posted on the CMA website.

While organizers say Pfizer won't have any say in the content, there are detractors such as Arnold Relman, professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School and former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, who says in the article: “It's simply a matter of common sense that if Pfizer is going to pay the Canadian Medical Association for medical education to doctors, Pfizer expects to get something in return.”

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