Guess Who Just Gave Over $500K to Support Menopause Research

You don’t have to look at Pfizer’s giving history for long before it dawns on you: These guys just aren’t that into giving away huge sums of money all at once. They give far and they give wide, covering diabetes, aging, patient care, AIDS, cancer, addiction, and more, but they don’t give deep. Their 2013 giving history stretches on for fifty-five pages, yet most of the grants are made for $5,000 or less. When they break out the big money, though, you take notice. Catching the eye of IP editors this season: three separate Pfizer grants all targeting menopause and its symptoms.

Most recently, Pfizer contributed $76,000 to the North American Menopause Society, to help them support their Medical Resident and Fellow Reporter Fellowship Program. Then, $69,536 went to Columbia University’s Center for Menopause, Hormonal Disorders, and Women’s Health, to fund their Women’s Health Scholar Fellowship. The big kahuna, though, was back in the second quarter of the year, when Pfizer devoted almost $500K to an American Academy of Family Physicians initiative titled, “Management of Menopausal Symptoms Through the Use of Improved Data Gathering and Shared Decision Making.”

This was a big year for menopause research. Back in March, Pfizer responded publically to a statement, published in Climacteric and Maturitas, which shed promising new light on the efficacy of hormone therapy for menopausal women. “This global consensus statement provides much needed clarity for women who are suffering from menopause-related symptoms,” said Gail Cawkwell, M.D., Ph.D., vice president, medical affairs, Pfizer. “These straightforward and evidence-based recommendations from major regional menopause societies are the result of the scientific community’s efforts to reevaluate hormone therapy.”

It’s clear that Pfizer is encouraged by a renewed global interest in evaluating menopause therapies. Interestingly, in the midst of Pfizer evident interest and menopause-related grantmaking, the FDA announced in October that it was approving a new Pfizer drug, called Duavee, which is designed to treat menopausal symptoms. As 2014 unfolds, it will be very interesting to see if the treatment of menopause becomes more than just a temporary focus for Pfizer. Our guess is, the answer will depend a lot on the reception and efficacy of Duavee.