Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The AMA has an opportunity take a stand on industry support of CME

The popular spin about medicine’s relationship with the pharmaceutical industry focuses on the one aspect most easily held up for ridicule: the free meals and gifts. But, as I said yesterday, the real agenda of the critics is broader. They would throw the baby out with the bathwater by eliminating beneficial collaborations with industry such as support for CME. That was Thomas Stossel’s point in his recent debate with Daniel Carlat.

Yesterday the Policy and Medicine blog gave an example which made my point well. It seems the AMA’s Council of Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) has proposed a ban on industry funding for CME. According to the Policy and Medicine post the Council for Medical Specialty Societies wrote a letter of opposition to the proposal which said in part:

The potential unintended consequence of adoption of CEJA recommendation 1 b):

The elimination of commercial support for certified CME will significantly reduce the availability of certified CME, produced by accredited CME providers, such as medical specialty societies.

We expect the funds previously devoted to this support will be channeled by industry to
promotional activities, including promotional educational activities for physicians.

In short, the result of adoption and implementation of CEJA recommendation 1 b) will likely be a rebalancing of education for physicians, with significantly less unbiased certified CME and significantly more biased promotional education.

The AMA, soon to decide on the proposal, has an important opportunity to demonstrate whether or not it represents rank-and-file doctors.

Maybe the drug companies should get together and decide to dispense with all the freebies. The doctors wouldn’t mind all that much, it would take away the demagoguery about doctors accepting bribes, and it would expose the real agenda.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stossel wrote a great rebuttal to the AMA CEJA Report. It's published on Medscape ( Pass it forward.