Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Should residency programs accept support from pharmaceutical companies?

A point-counterpoint appeared in Skin and Allergy News. Dr. Raymond Comelison Jr., chief of dermatology at the University of Oklahoma and past president of the American Academy of Dermatology says yes, in some circumstances. Dr. Jeffrey Meffert, staff dermatologist at Wilford Hall Air force Medical Center says “just say no”, regardless of the circumstance.

I agree with Dr. Comelison. It is unfair to paint all industry supported activities with the same brush. There is extreme variation in quality. At one end of the spectrum are events amounting to little more than infomercials for a single product. These drug company dinners and junkets of low educational value are easy to spot. Both discussants agree that such activities are not of value. But drug companies also provide support for academic programs to send house staff to high quality CME offerings at national specialty organizations. Here the discussants disagree, and Dr. Comelison points out that if pharmaceutical support disappeared far fewer residents would be able to attend such meetings.

Most would agree with the need for caution in accepting industry support. Dr. Comelison applies the maxim “everything in moderation.” While increasing numbers of people subscribe to Dr. Meffert’s position, it is simplistic and extreme.

1 comment:

jeff meffert said...

Sorry. I'm a simplistic and extreme sort of guy. Ethical issues do not do well in shades of gray although, regrettably, that is the way of the world. We should strive for a clearer view (even it ends up "S & E")and if something is accepted as unethical for a credentialed physician, it's just as unethical for a physician in training.
jeff meffert