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.