Friday, May 16, 2008

On the AAMC’s proposal concerning Pharma gifts, I’ve changed my tune---somewhat

A commenter on my recent post about the AAMC proposal took me to task for not reading the report in the original. Although her reasons for suspecting me were wrong (I twice referred to the AAMC as AAMS, typo’s I’ve since fixed) it turns out she was correct that I hadn’t read the report in the original. I had read some blog reactions and the New York Times article, none of which contained a link to the report.

So I did what I should have done in the first place. I went and read the report. Turns out the proposal isn’t so bad. Not as bad as I thought, anyway. I disagree with the scope and the extent of the restrictions proposed and find it odd, even hypocritical, given all their talk about professionalism and integrity in medical education, that they turn their back on the shameful and pervasive problem of woo. Nevertheless, my characterization of the proposal as “simplistic and extreme” was too strong.

I think it was the NYT article that was simplistic. It implied a total ban on free food. Wrong. According to the AAMC proposal, industry-supplied food is permissible if served at an activity carried out according to ACCME standards and accredited for CME. Some academic medical center Grand Rounds, though perhaps not all, are accredited. So, this proposal will not banish free food from the academic environment. Many activities won’t be affected at all. What it may do is encourage more programs to get their Grand Rounds accredited. That would be a good thing.

Moreover, the report doesn’t ban drug reps from medical campuses. It merely sets standards for drug company presentations and requires oversight by faculty. In other words, drug reps can’t just wander in and, like self appointed faculty, proceed to “teach” students free of any administrative supervision!

My big mistake was that I dropped my guard and violated the cardinal RW rule: always, when possible, go to the primary source! That’s what I get for trusting the New York Times.

One more thing. I had to chuckle at Carlat Psychiatry Blog’s declaration following the announcement of the AAMC proposal: The era of post-deception medicine is finally here. No way. We can’t enter an era of post-deception medicine until we leave the era of post-scientific medicine. Selective outrage?

1 comment:

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