CME In Web News Week of August 17th, 2009

August 24, 2009 at 5:55 pm Leave a comment

Here is some of what the public is reading about CME in the papers and on the web this past week.

From the Web Page of the Senate Committee on Aging


The report begins:

“The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) held a hearing on conflicts of interest in medical education. In recent years, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries have increased their funding of Continuing Medical Education (CME), medical schools, and professional medical associations. The industries also pay physicians directly for their service as educational consultants. According to the Institute of Medicine, industry funding for accredited CME quadrupled from $302 million to $1.2 billion between 1998 and 2006.

“Large corporations do not typically spend these sums unless they think they will get something out of it,” said Chairman Kohl. “Are the drug and device industries getting a return on their annual billion dollar investment in medical education? Do the programs funded by industry stay true to their mission of providing unbiased education and research, or do they instead market the industry’s latest products? We are not suggesting that these financial relationships are rife with corruption, but it is clear to us that greater transparency, and perhaps stronger firewalls, should be considered.”

Read More:

Medical schools and drug companies too cozy
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Last update: August 18, 2009 – 3:19 PM

The University of Wisconsin CME office takes another slam from the press. Here is the last paragraph of this article.

“The University of Wisconsin’s good name has been tarnished by this money-grubbing enabling of a drug company’s marketing campaign. In recent months, the school has taken steps to establish tougher conflict-of-interest rules. But UW hasn’t moved to limit continuing medical education payments from industry, which may be an even larger risk to its reputation.”

Read More:

Senator Moves to Block Medical Ghostwriting
New York Times
Published: August 18, 2009

Many CME providers have experienced the practice of “ghostwriting”, especially in the preparation of enduring materials. The practice is under fire.
A growing body of evidence suggests that doctors at some of the nation’s top medical schools have been attaching their names and lending their reputations to scientific papers that were drafted by ghostwriters working for drug companies — articles that were carefully calibrated to help the manufacturers sell more products.

Read More:

Vol. 302 No. 7, August 19, 2009
Industry Support and Professional Medical Associations

Letters published from several people in response to the JAMA article appearing April, 2009 calling for drastic changes in industry support for medial education.

Full access to these letters requires a subscription to JAMA, But here is the first part of several of the letters.

To the Editor: In their Special Communication, Dr Rothman and colleagues1 noted that “extensive literature has documented the influence of gifts on individual physicians.” To my knowledge, there is no similar evidence showing that commercial support of continuing medical education (CME) has the same influence, either on physicians or on their professional medical associations (PMAs).

The best current evidence is a study commissioned by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and not published in the peer-reviewed literature.2 Additional high-quality evidence in this area would add to this already valuable national discussion.

It is critical to recognize the implications of the difference between relationships of individual physicians with industry and grants from industry to PMA’s for independent CME. Based on the evidence, few of the authors’ recommendations follow convincingly. One which does, however, is that committees crafting clinical practice guidelines should be composed of members without ties to industry, . .

Norman Kahn, MD
Council of Medical Specialty Societies
Chicago, Illinois

Industry Support and Professional Medical Associations
To the Editor: In their Special Communication, Dr Rothman and colleagues1 made a number of suggestions to control the real and perceived conflicts of interest encountered in PMAs. Regarding industry support of conferences and other educational meetings, they recommended that “each PMA might establish a CME committee whose members, free of all industry ties, would have the responsibility to distribute unrestricted, educational grants from industry.”

Such a model already exists and has been active for more than 2 years. The collaborative grants model developed by the Physicians’ Institute for Excellence in Medicine (PIEM, a subsidiary of the Medical Association of Georgia) does just that.2 Grants are solicited from industry; in turn, these are distributed through a request-for-proposal process to 14 state medical societies. A committee of physicians in each society decides which of the applications from their state should be sent forward to PIEM for a final decision. Industry plays . . .

Walker L. Ray, MD; Robert L. Addleton, EdD
Physicians’ Institute for Excellence in Medicine
Medical Association of Georgia

1. Rothman DJ, McDonald WJ, Berkowitz CD; et al. Professional medical associations and their relationships with industry: a proposal for controlling conflict of interest. JAMA. 2009;301(13):1367-1372.

You may want to read the response to these letters by Dr. Rothman.

University Diaries Blog
August 18th, 20029
By Margaret Soltan who is an English professor at George Washington University, in Washington, DC.

“This money-grubbing enabling of a drug company’s marketing campaign…” … should really stop, writes the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Especially since the grubber in question is the University of Wisconsin’s medical school, which got a million dollars from a drug company to put UW’s good name behind the company’s synthetic testosterone.
Said testosterone is not only of uncertain benefit to men older than 45; it might actually be dangerous. But its maker, Solvay, touted it on a continuing medical education website which offered CME credit to doctors who read articles on the site about it. And, since a real live university sponsored the deal, the medicine looked legit.

Industry funding of continuing medical education should be phased out to avoid conflicts, and Congress should require full disclosure of all industry payments for continuing medical education.
Phasing out industry funding of CME means phasing out CME, at least as we’ve come to know it.

Go to the blog here. or here:

Another read on this comes from an Association for Healthcare Journalist blog.

Why Most CE Courses are Dead on Delivery
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
Massage Today
August 19, 2009

Here’s one from a person involved in massage. A look at some of the literature about the effectiveness of CME.

Careers in CME (continuing medical education)

Here is an interesting comment on careers in CME and the future of industry support for CME. Might give you pause.


Entry filed under: CME, CME Issues, Continuing Medical Education, Continung Professional Development, Pharma Funding, Physician Continuing Education, Physician Education.

CME and Issues We Care About in Cyber-News CME on the Web: Week of August 20th

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