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Reinvent Motherisk to protect mothers and babies

May 27, 2019

Canada should reinvent the Motherisk program to support pregnant women to have healthy babies, argues an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"The loss of Motherisk has exposed a major public health and research void that is neither quickly nor easily reconciled," writes Dr. Nathan Stall, associate editor, CMAJ, with colleagues. "Although finding an immediate replacement for Motherisk is not feasible, reinventing a reputable and modernized clinical and research program in reproductive drug safety should be a national priority."

Motherisk, once a leader in evidence-based counselling on drug safety in pregnancy and breastfeeding in Canada, was shut down after losing credibility and funding amid allegations of research misconduct involving its former director.

To ensure trust in a reinvented program, there should be oversights to ensure responsible conduct, which could be achieved through affiliation with a respected research institute and federal support to guarantee independence from industry.

"We envision a national and interprofessional collaborative effort among clinical and research experts in reproductive drug safety; front-line providers in primary care and obstetrics; and health care organizations and specialty societies, including in family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, nursing, midwifery, internal medicine, pediatrics and other relevant disciplines," writes Dr. Stall and colleagues.
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