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Posted by on Jul 2, 2008 in CME, Pharma

Pfizer Cuts Off CME Grants to MECCs

Pfizer Cuts Off CME Grants to MECCs


In an unprecedented move, Pfizer is immediately cutting off all CME grants given directly to medical education communications companies (MECCs), according to today’s press release from the company. However, Pfizer will honor existing grant committments and will continue to provide financial support for physician-directed CME to healthcare facilities and medical societies.

The move unfairly implies that MECCs, unlike other ACCME-accredited organizations, have specifically undermined the credibility of pharma-supported CME; although Pfizer does nothing more than make the implication. Joseph Feczko, Pfizer’s Chief Medical Officer, is quoted: “We understand that even the appearance of conflicts in CME is damaging and we are determined to take actions that are in the best interests of patients and physicians.” It is presumed that academic centers or medical societies, unlike like MECCs, confer a desirable credibility to CME.

According to the Dow Jones Newswires, Pfizer spent approximately $80 million last year on CME, with less than half given directly to for-profit MECCs. It is unknown if other pharma companies will follow Pfizer’s lead; but if MECCs are to survive the current and impending climate of ill will toward pharma-supported CME, they will need to partner up with academic CME offices or medical societies in jointly sponsored CME projects. In this event, MECCs will no longer need independent accreditation from the ACCME, which at last count accredited 155 MECCs.*

HT: WSJ Health Blog

* Not counting initial or reaccreditation ACCME fees, the loss of annual fees from these 155 accredited MECCs would amount to a yearly loss of at least $310,000 for the ACCME.

Update: On a Pfizer-related note, Derek Lowe at In the Pipeline hears rumors of autumn layoffs at Groton.

bmartin (1130 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.