Center for Medicine in the Public Interest

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Group.png Center for Medicine in the Public Interest  
Typethink tank

The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI) claims to be a ‘nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered.’ It offers ‘the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness. [1] The director of the Stockholm Network (SN), Helen Disney, used to sit on its now defunct advisory board along with representatives from two think tanks who are part of the SN: International Policy Network (Julian Morris) and Centre for the New Europe (Stephen Pollard).[2] The director of communications at Pfizer Catherine Barr Windels is also on the CPMI board.[3]

The CPMI has been accused of being an 'astroturf' organisation that receives its funding from pharmarceutical companies[4][5]. According to the Washington Post:

The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI) is a New York-based think tank headed by Peter Pitts, a former Food and Drug Administration official who appears frequently on newscasts condemning Democratic health-care proposals. CMPI is an offshoot of the San Francisco-based Pacific Research Institute, which has received foundation grants over the years from Philip Morris, Pfizer and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, according to public records.
While serving as president of CMPI, Pitts also works as the global health-care chief at Porter Novelli, a New York public relations firm whose clients include Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Wyeth and Pfizer. He acknowledges that CMPI also receives money from the pharmaceutical industry, which is supporting reform legislation in exchange for a White House promise to limit cuts.[6]

The CPMI was an offshoot of the Pacific Research Institute which Rachel Maddow describes as 'a famous pro-tobacco ostensibly grassroots corporate front group that was funded by Philip Morris'.[7]

Funding and disambiguation

The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest should not to be confused with the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The two are completely unrelated, despite their very similar sounding names. The CSPI is a non profit public interest group, while the CMPI takes corporate funding.

CSPI says it does not accept funding from corporations or government; instead it is funded by individual donors, foundation grants, and subscriptions to its newsletter.[8]

CMPI, on the other hand, stated on a 2005 version of its website that it accepted corporate funding:

Its contributors consist primarily of foundations and individuals, with some corporate support, as described in its 2004 annual report.
PRI solicits and accepts donations from corporations in the health care industry. In order to avoid conflicts of interest, PRI staff and external authors adhere to a Code of Practice.[9]

CMPI has also been funded in part by the pharmaceutical industry. According to, CMPI`s biggest contributors in 2006 were the drug maker Pfizer and PhRMA, the drug industry`s trade group.[10]

US Health care reform debate

CMPI was 'a big player' in the U.S. anti-health reform movement in late 2009. They sponsored anti-Obama tea party protests and organized a 'U.S. Policymakers' series that hosted anti-health reform interviews with a 'not-so-broad range of Republican lawmakers, including Michele Bachmann, Joe Wilson, Jim DeMint, David Vitter'. They also produced 'a number of anti-health reform online ads and video and even anti-health reform video games'.[11]

Porter Novelli, the PR firm that employs Peter Pitts who heads CMPI, 'helped that industry kill the Patients Bill of Rights way back in 1994', arguing that it was part of a 'big government agenda', the same arguments used to dicredit the US Healthcare reforms in 2009.[12]


Board of Directors


CMPI Advisory Board (no longer in existence)

Until at least 2006 the CMPI published an advisory board.[14]

January 2006


Publications and Affiliations


308 East 38th Street
Suite 201
New York, New York 10016
Phone:(212) 417-9169
Fax: (212) 417-9170
Paris Office
3 rue Primatice
75013 Paris
Phone: + 33 1 43 31 89 25


  1. CMPI. CMPI: Mission Statement Accessed 19 April 2010./
  2. Centre for Medicine in the Public Interest, CMPI Advisory Board, Centre for Medicine in the Public Interest, 13-January-2006, Accessed vi web archive 25-May-2010
  3. CPMI Board of Directors, About Us, Centre for Medicine in the Public Interest, Accessed 24-May-2010
  4. Peter Hart, Fear & Favor 2008; Financial woes accelerate corporate pressure in the newsroom, Extra!, April 2009
  5. Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer, Doctor's Fees, Slate Magazine, 21-November-2008
  6. Dan Eggen, Funding for health-care interest groups often fuzzy, Washington Post, 7-January-2010
  7. Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, 18-November-2009, 9PM EST
  8. CSPI's Funding Sources, CSPI website, acc 21 Apr 2010
  9. About Center for Medicines in the Public Interest, CMPI website, archived version copyrighted 2005, accessed in web archive 21 Apr 2010
  10. Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, 18-November-2009, 9PM EST
  11. Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, 18-November-2009, 9PM EST
  12. Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, 18-November-2009, 9PM EST
  13. CPMI Board of Directors, About Us, Centre for Medicine in the Public Interest, Accessed 24-May-2010
  14. CMPI CMPI Advisory board, retrieved from the Internet Archive of 13 January 2006, accessed 25 may 2010
  15. Peter Pitts, Michael Tew and Alexandra Preate. 20 September 2005. 21ST CENTURY HEALTH CARE TERRORISM: THE PERILS OF INTERNATIONAL DRUG COUNTERFEITING Accessed 19 April 2010.