This week, Pfizer announced that it will stop funding physician continuing medical education through medical education and communication companies (MECCs), effective immediately. According to the company’s press release, the move is meant to curb conflicts of interest engendered by industry funded CME. The drug giant says it will continue to provide CME through academic medical centers and professional medical societies.

For more, check out:


WSJ Health Blog

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report

The Denver Post reports this week that a new set of conflict of interest guidelines being proposed at the University of Colorado would curb industry influence on faculty and students there in a major way, but that it’s raised the hair on the backs of some faculty members.

Richard Krugman, dean of the CU School of Medicine, said the guidelines will bolster the medical professionalism the public deserves.

“I chafe at lots of federal and state regulation,” Dr. Krugman told the Post, “but the reality is, we have to have guidelines and policies and regulations.”

And though this story comes out every year (see last year’s version), the economic downturn, and the astro-price of fuel and food make this Pharmalot story about gianormous FDA bonuses seem especially egregious this year.

On Wednesday, The Boston Globe looked closely at how Sen. Ted Kennedy is convening health care leaders from Massachusetts in discussions that may yield the blueprints for a universal health care plan.  Among those in attendance were Community Catalyst Director Rob Restuccia and former director of Health Care For All, John McDonough, who is now chairing Sen. Kennedy’s health initiative. 

We hope prescription reform is one of the pieces of the health care cost puzzle that gets talked about as national health care plans are shaped, and so do the writers of this opinion piece in the Syracuse Post-Standard, who include AARP New York director Lois Aronstein and the Center for Medical Consumer’s Art Levin.

At it Aggie-an: The University of California – Davis student newspaper, The California Aggie, picked up the story about the medical schools’ top mark on the AMSA Scorecard.

Here are two mega-articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer that center around a lawsuit filed after a hip replacement patient wasn’t told about her doctor’s financial ties to the maker of the implant.  (For the CliffsNotes version, check out the Wall Street Journal Healthblog entry.)

The Chronicle of Higher Education says Sen. Chuck Grassley’s conflict of interest disclosure hunt – which has so far trawled up undisclosed millions taken by three Harvard psychiatrists and the incoming president of the American Psychiatric Association at Stanford – is far from over. 

Two belated pick ups from the blogosphere that are worth a read:

University of Maryland professor and blogger Steven Salzberg’s post on the ubiquity of Pfizer-funded trials for its own smoking-cessation drug Chantix in the literature is exhaustive and damning.  PostScript felt a twinge of fellow-feeling for Salzberg, whose search for authorship affiliations and disclosures was steered by the capricious winds of e-journal privileges, just like our searches are.

And a blog tip to Mike Barr at Shillfactor, a site devoted to illuminating financial conflict in the world of AIDS research and treatment.  Check out his blog and encyclopedic list of people with conflicts running the show.