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Stanford develops new industry-funded model for continuing education of physicians

A story in this morning's New York Times detailed plans by the Stanford University School of Medicine to design and implement a new model for the continuing education of physicians using a $3 million grant from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

The New York Times' Duff Wilson writes:

Dr. Philip Pizzo, dean of the Stanford medical school, says Pfizer will have no say on how the three-year grant will be spent. The university plans to set up unbiased programs of postgraduate education on the Stanford campus rather than the industry-selected topics of the past that have been presented to rooms full of doctors at hotels and resorts.

“It’s a fundamental change,” Dr. Pizzo said Sunday, criticizing the drug industry for poisoning educational programs with marketing messages and doctors for “complicity” in taking speaker fees and expenses-paid trips. He called the grant “a novel rebooting.”

Stanford’s move was applauded by David J. Rothman, a professor and president of the Center on Medicine as a Profession at Columbia.

“It’s fair to say Stanford is once again leading the pack,” said Professor Rothman, who has written in The Journal of the American Medical Association about conflicts of interest in academic medicine.

Stanford medical school officials consider this new model an experiment and will see over time whether it can be successful.

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