Raising Women’s Voices

Pfizer-Harvard Relationship Questioned

Posted in Reports and Studies by raisingwomensvoices on March 5, 2009

On Tuesday, Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) asked drug company Pfizer about payments they had made to over 149 faculty members at Harvard Medical School.

Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and is investigating the drug industry’s influence on the practice of medicine. This inquiry expands his previous investigation of industry payments to three Harvard psychiatrists promoting anti-psychotic medication for children. In that case, the professors were accused of not properly reporting as much as $4.2 million in payments from 2000-2007.


Grassley also asked Pfizer for any documentation regarding medical school students protesting drug company influence. Harvard policy prohibits drug companies having any interaction with medical students, but does not bar them from campus, nor from taking photographs. A man identified only as a representative from Pfizer had done just that last October.

In response to the investigation and criticism of drug companies’ involvement with medical schools, a Pfizer representative has said that collaboration with medical schools is a “valuable source of innovation and scientific advancement”.

Last year the American Medical Student Association gave Harvard Medical School an F for how well it controlled drug company payments to faculty members. This was based on Harvard’s published policy, even though the dean, Dr. Jeffrey S. Flier, believes the appropriate grade would be an “incomplete” for not submitting paperwork to the association.

For the full NY Times article click here

sara siegel


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