A Call for Pharmaceutical Industry Disclosure of Charitable and Educational Donations: Home
Pharmaceutical Industry Donations & Continuing Medical Education
Industry Donations and
In 2004 the renowned
psychiatry department at Harvard Medical School's teaching hospital for
the first time accepted money from a pharmaceutical companies for its
continuing medical education (CME) program. The move is very controversial
even though the department said it developed ways to minimize the risk
that drug company money could bias classroom instruction because critics
say pharma can still set the overall agenda in CME by funding programs
that primarily focus on profitable activities such as treatment with brand-name
Inquirer: When doctors learn, drug firms often pay the tab
Rules instituted in recent years by a variety of bodies meant to limit the influence of the pharmaceutical industry over the content of the continuing medical education (CME) has not dimmed their interest in financing these events. The rules have reduced the visibility of the industry's involvement, but critics argue drug companies would not provide so much money for these events if it didn't impact sales, a claim that pharmaceutical representatives admit while at the same time arguing that their involvement also improves patient care.
Tribune: Drug makers foot bill for UIC doctors' Italy junket
Lavish pharmaceutical industry-sponsored University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) medical symposia on transplant surgery held in Italy in 2002 and 2004 highlight the controversy surrounding corporate sponsorship of the continuing medical education of physicians. Critics contend that this growing practice influences doctors' prescribing behavior while those such as UIC conference organizer Dr. Enrico Benedetti indicate that these important medical meetings could not take place without industry support.
Globe, Op-ed: Doctors and Drug Companies
Drug companies spend billions of dollars each year on educational programs for doctors in the form of "unrestricted educational grants." The companies swear that in supporting physicians' meals, meetings and events, all they care about is education doctors, but the U.S. Senate is now asking how much of the content of these programs is education and how much is product marketing.
Marketing & Media: Beyond the firewalls
Pharmaceutical companies have rewritten the rules for supporting medical education in response to mandates demanding content is insulated from marketing influence. Meanwhile, providers are reporting mixed experiences dealing with a bevy of complex funding systems.
Today: Who's teaching the doctors? Drug firms sponsor required courses
- and see their sales rise
Regulations will soon go into effect that promise higher standards of separation between corporations that provide grants and the faculty of required continuing medical education (CME) courses, but critics say they are weak and unenforceable. At the same time, other attempts to change these practices have been rebuffed, even as the number of commercial providers has increased.
Psychiatry News: Drug companies' influence in psychiatry pervasive, experts
In presentation to
the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association two psychiatrists
warned that their colleagues should be very concerned about the influence
pharmaceutical industry in their field, and medicine as a whole. They
presented a study that showed that despite last year's decision by the
American Academy of Continuing Medical Education (CME) to strengthen rules
governing industry support for CME, industry continues to increase its
investment in this area and materials continue to make few unfavorable
statements about sponsoring companys' drugs.
In the first such analysis, Duke University Medical Center researchers have found that state-mandated programs for continuing medical education (CME) for physicians have little impact in improving outcomes for heart attack patients or in increasing the use of therapies proved effective by clinical trials. They also found that heat attack patients in states requiring CME were much more likely to receive treatments that were manufactured by drug companies that often sponsor CME events.
Boston Globe: Hospital, Drug Firm Relations Probed
are sending subpoenas to top academic medical centers in Boston and elsewhere
in the country for records about their relationships with drug makers
as part of a widespread crackdown on pharmaceutical company marketing
practices, according to several attorneys who represent hospitals and
drug companies. Federal prosecutors are looking into whether drug companies
have been using grants given to hospitals and their doctors for continuing
medical education (CME) in attempts to influence prescribing patterns
of doctors at those hospitals.
Oregonian: Now, a word from our sponsors
Drug makers have shifted
their focus from providing free samples, medical conferences in exotic
locales, and taking doctors to sporting events to sponsoring events that
provide for doctors' continuing medical education (CME). But when pharmaceutical
companies foot the bill for CME, objectivity is suspect.
The authors argue
that Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities should only qualify
as education if these events receive no funding from the pharmaceutical
industry. Less radical reforms such as the pooled donor approach would
merely be a cosmetic attempt at dealing with the conflicts of interest
inherent in an education system funded by industry because it continues
the practice of having a third party whose profits are directly related
to prescribing behavior control medical education.
Editorial: Drug company influence on medical education in USA
The growing trend
of pharmaceutical industry financing of Continuing Medical Education (CME)
is an insidious practice that evidence shows ultimately influences medical
decision-making and practice in a way that benefits pharma's bottom line.
The Lancet's editorial staff argues that physicians should follow the
example of other professions and pay for their own CME in order to ensure
the integrity of the process of learning in medicine.
Hastings Center Report: Pharma goes to the laundry: public relations and
the business of medical education
A detailed look at the process by which the pharmaceutical industry's public relations machine, by employing its "third party" strategy, has shaped the many forms of Continuing Medical Education (CME) to serve its own interests, to the detriment of patients. The threat to patients is illustrated through the example of Wyeth's successful "medical education" campaign to promote its diet drug Fen-Phen, a drug which Wyeth's own data showed was not very effective and that was ultimately linked to serious illness in 45,000 patients and the deaths of hundreds.
Medical Association Journal: CME and the pharmaceutical industry: two
worlds, three views, four steps
The author proposes four action items as a first step towards creating appropriate boundaries between the pharmaceutical industry and medical schools and more broadly between industry and Continuing Medical Education (CME) in Canada. They are providing physicians better education in the areas of critical appraisal and ethical decision-making, broadening the definition of the full disclosure to include the full amount of industry contributions to CME programming in addition to industry connections, the diversification of funding for CME through greater government and professional support, and developing enforceable national guidelines.
Diabetes: Continuing Medical Education in Diabetes: The Impending Crisis
Pharmaceutical Industry Donations & Continuing Medical Education