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Canadian Medical Association Journal's Editorial Mess Gets Murkier

The editorial mess at the Canadian Medical Association journal is showing no signs of resolving as acting-editor Stephen Choi and editorial fellow Sally Murray followed // Dr. John Hoey and Anne Marie Todkill in resigning from their posts after a dispute over an article on the contraceptive pill, Plan B.

Dr. Bruce Squires has been asked to act as an interim editor, but the former editor has said that he needs assurances on certain matter before he even contemplates taking up the position, "Certain conditions would need to be met before I would even consider it. It's too preliminary to make any sort of conjecture at this point,'' he said. "I don't want to see the journal go down." Indeed there are doubts if they would ever be able to get the journal out on time since many other luminaries seem to agree with the position being taken by the former editors. "I'm not sure they can put the journal out," said Dr. Jerome Kassirer, medical professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of the journal's editorial board. "It would be a problem to publish without an editor and they don't have one. The editors are gone. The CMA is playing hardball and they're not about to concede editorial independence to the editors, which in our opinion is a disaster." The whole issue began when Dr Hoey had commissioned a secret survey, which had found pharmacists asking sexually sensitive questions to women before selling Plan B despite it being a non-prescription drug. Following a complaint by Canadian Pharmacists Association, this article was pulled and consequently Dr Hoey had resigned.

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