Philip Morris has quietly disbanded its controversial External Research Program (PMERP), through which it funded academic and scientific research at major universities. The funds doled out by the program were substantial: in the 2006-07 fiscal year, the University of California system alone received around $16 million through PMERP. The end of the program comes amid growing controversy over whether universities should accept tobacco money at all. A number of prominent research institutions have enacted policies specifically prohibiting tobacco company funding for research. Whether the end of PMERP will have any real impact is unknown though, since PM has said it will continue providing universities with research funds, just not through its External Research Program.
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