Commercial Support and University of Michigan CME Program

June 24, 2010 at 8:34 pm Leave a comment

The University of Michigan medical school has decided to stop taking industry money to support its CME activities. The dean of the school told the New York Times that faculty members “wanted education to be free from bias, to be based on the best evidence and a balanced view of the topic under discussion.” Is the faculty at this prestigious University Medical School saying that they can’t provide balanced CME free of bias, based on the best evidence available if the activity receives commercial support? Why? Geez. It sounds to me like they are admitting that when industry has supported U of M CME activities in the past the safe guards built into the CME planning process and the rules of the accreditation system didn’t work for them.

So let me see if I have this right. When faculty at the University of Michigan medical school knew a commercial entity supported an activity the U of M faculty presenting the learning resources at that activity were concerned that they and their colleagues were not presenting balanced, unbiased, evidence based information. Shame on them. They should give up commercial support. A simple question. If this is true, how will the absence of commercial support change anything that they present in a CME activity?

But wait. Could these be the same faculty some of whose research is probably funded by industry making it possible for them to create new medical knowledge that should be shared with the medical community? OMG. I wonder if they are concerned about bias creeping into the results of the research they are doing that is funded by industry? Could the evidence be tainted because of the source of funding? After all, no funded research in an institution like this and likely means no faculty promotions, no tenure, and probably no faculty position. So a question we need to ask would be “When this faculty presents the results of their research funded by industry can we trust them to present unbiased data?” I certainly hope this concern over industry support of CME does not extend into their research. Heaven forbid.

In the past the CME staff at the University of Michigan have been leaders in some areas of research in CME. Does their research on their own CME activities support the need to take this action or are they simply taking what appears to be a politically correct position in these turbulent times?

Help me out here.


Entry filed under: CME Issues, Pharma Funding. Tags: , , , .

CME in the News and on the Blogs, June 23rd, 2010 Root Cause Analysis: Look at the Process Map? Five Whys?

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