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US blog questions drug company funding of continuing education for journalists

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c4857 (Published 03 September 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4857
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

    A US blog has questioned whether journalists might be influenced by accepting “all expenses paid” fellowships to attend an educational conference on cancer organised by the US National Press Foundation but sponsored by Pfizer.

    Pfizer is providing unrestricted funding of $80 000 (£52 000; €62 000) to the US National Press Foundation, a non-profit charitable organisation that provides continuing educational programmes for journalists, to sponsor 15 US journalists to attend the foundation’s four day educational programme on cancer being held in Washington, DC, from 17 to 20 October (http://nationalpress.org/programs-and-resources/program/cancer-issues-2010/).

    In his recent Pharmalot blog Ed Silverman, a journalist, asked whether journalists might be influenced by a drug company sponsored but apparently independent educational programme in the way that doctors might be (www.pharmalot.com). “The arrangement is generating a bit of heat in some circles, given sensitivities over perceptions of conflicts of interest,” he said.

    Gary Schwitzer, …

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