Thursday, April 12, 2007

Beginning in 2001 with an article calling for the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use there was a "running dispute" between the editorial board of the Canadian Medical Association Journal and the executive of the CMA. This dispute escalated in 2002 with criticism of an emergency room in Quebec and in Nov, 2005 became more acrimonious when the journal attempted to survey the practice of some pharmacists asking women for their name, address and "sexual history !!!!! before handing over "Plan B", an "over the counter" emergency contraception drug. The Canadian Pharmacists association rose to the defense of the tiny minority of its members and complained citing "privacy concerns" (Molly Note: It seems that some people are totally incapable of shame). The CMA agreed with the CPhA and interfered with the journal's publication of the article. In February 2006 a CMAJ article critical of Health Minister Tony Clement's stand on privatization is replaced by the CMA with more more supportive of the Minister. The same month the CMA begins the firings of the editorial staff of its journal.As time goes on more and more staff resign from the journal. The fired and resigned staff of the journal gains the support of such publications as The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine, and the International Council of science Editors criticizes the CMA for its interference in editorial independence. As of May 3rd, 2006 the National Press Club in Ottawa awarded two fired editors of the CMAJ the year's "World Press Freedom Award".
NOW the former editors of the CMAJ have announced the launch of a new "open-access" journal titled 'Open Medicine'.This effort has been joined by a great number of medical editors, not just in Canada but across the world. The articles will be "open access" ie open to the public for free, but all articles will be peer reviewed for quality. The new journal will "be independent of medical society affiliations and will not accept pharmaceutical or medical devise advertising". The new journal will feature not just research articles but will also attempt "to promote international dialogue and collaboration of health issues".
To see what this is all about and to register to receive the journal's email alerts go to

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