CME in the News and on the Blogs January 26, 2010

January 26, 2010 at 7:08 pm Leave a comment

Groups want tighter controls over drug industry influence
Minnesota Public Radio by Lorna Benson, January 26, 2010

“………Some physicians agree that the arrangement does present a conflict of interest. Dr. Chris McCoy with the National Physicians Alliance said many doctors have become way too dependent on the information given to them by drug companies because they’re too busy to do their own drug research. He said there’s also a sense of entitlement among physicians that is sometimes at odds with what’s best for patients.

“We, as physicians, shouldn’t expect that our education is going to come free of charge and with a lunch that comes with it,” McCoy said. “We need to recognize that if we want to have the best, unbiased information we are going to have to go out there and seek that.”

Following on that proposal, a second bill would try to replace the information doctors get from drug companies with unbiased drug data. The bill would create a panel of independent medical experts to advise doctors.

But some physicians are deeply skeptical of that approach and believe it could end up harming patients. The Association of Clinical Researchers and Educators, which has many physician members, says some states have used this approach to push generic medications. The group also worries that if pharmaceutical companies and doctors don’t work collaboratively to share information, clinical research projects may not get off the ground…………”

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NOTE: Here is something I missed in the middle of last year. It is an interesting look at the differences between continuing education for lawyers and continuing education for physicians. The author is president of Littleton, Colo.-based Global Education Group.

Physician Education Is Not Comparable to Legal Education, Jul 1, 2009 Stephen Lewis

…..”The comparison between lawyers and physicians is a stretch in any instance. When it comes to the field of certified CME, however, taking action based on this analogy actually would be harmful to public health. Let’s take an example and discuss why the lawyer-physician CME argument should not be resuscitated…………….”

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Brief Primer: Speakers’ Bureaus vs Continuing Medical Education (CME) Programs
Pathophilia, January 25, 2010

“…………Participation in speakers’ bureaus consists of giving talks that are based on slides and talking points created by the drug or medical-device company. The content of these talks must be reviewed by the company’s medical-legal department and must adhere to FDA guidelines—for example, they must contain so-called fair-balance information. In essence, a healthcare professional who participates in speakers’ bureaus becomes a glorified sales representative (like Daniel Carlat during his speakers’ gigs for Wyeth).

Participation in CME requires either the development of educational content or its delivery to other healthcare professionals. In the case of industry-funded CME, funds are procured by an organization that is accredited to produce CME.** This organization—which can be a university-based CME department, a medical professional organization, or a for-profit medical education communications company (MECC)—then recruits faculty and assists them with the development of the educational content. The organization is also instrumental in deciding the format of the CME program (eg, Internet-based activity, dinner meeting) and enforcing recognized guidelines to ensure the independence of the program. Honoraria to faculty that develop or deliver content are paid by the accredited organization from the industry-supplied educational grant. Critics of industry-funded CME (eg, Daniel Carlat) argue that companies unduly influence the content of these CME programs through their indirect or direct pressure on grant recipients…………”

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Comment: Dr. Martin is correct in pointing out these differences. But let’s not forget that Speakers Bureaus are a delivery format that can be effectively used by accredited CME providers. Speakers Bureaus are not the sole property of industry.


Entry filed under: CME, CME Issues, Pharma Funding, Physician Continuing Education.

ACCME Call For Comment – Knowledge Based CME Grassley and COI

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