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Pfizer pledges $2m to cancer network

Pfizer has provided a $2m educational grant to the US National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) to support tailored quality improvement plans at leading cancer centres

The ‘Opportunities for Improvement’ programme will develop and implement an outcomes-based performance improvement initiative using real practice data from ten of the 21 NCCN member institutions, which include Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles and the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center in Boston. The programme aims to identify tailored educational opportunities, design provider-specific action plans for improvement and quantify and evaluate the impact of educational interventions on changes in practice and patient outcomes. 

Dr William T. McGivney, chief executive officer of NCCN, said: “Educating providers about how evidence-based recommendations for patient care may improve outcomes for their patient population is key to establishing a continuous quality improvement paradigm.”  

The announcement is the latest in a line of CME pledges from Pfizer, which has a history of providing educational grants for ‘unbiased’ CME programmes. In June 2008, the company announced it was to stop funding for-profit CME, and since then has focused on making funding available only to impartial educational providers.

In January 2010, the company provided a $3m grant to Stanford University: uniquely, the resulting CME curriculum was designed with no involvement from Pfizer, and Pfizer could exert no influence over how the money could be spent. This was the first time a pharma company had provided financial assistance for the development of a CME programme that was independent of pharma influence. Since this initial experiment, Pfizer has continued to provide financial support for CME with no direct benefit to itself. 

In April 2010, Pfizer committed $300,000 to support CME through the clinician development programme at the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation, specifically for courses addressing pain management and osteoarthritis. Also earlier this year, the company committed another $300,000, this time to fund CME at the Boston, Massachusetts-based Joslin Diabetes Center, despite Pfizer having no specific diabetes products in its portfolio. 

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