Friday, January 16, 2009

Whither industry supported CME?

That’s the question we addressed in the latest Medscape Roundtable Discussion. Dr. Bradley Fox and I favored continued industry support. Drs. Pennie Marchetti and Robert Centor (DB) favored a ban.

Some key points of my argument:

Proponents of a ban on industry support of CME should provide evidence to sustain their burden of proof that the benefits of such a ban would outweigh the inevitable unintended consequences.

Because no such evidence exists the proponents of a ban have appealed to a system of beliefs.

A ban on industry support of accredited CME would do nothing to stop industry from providing non-accredited offerings which, like direct-to-consumer advertising, would increase as industry diverts its resources. Doctors would then be bombarded with even more industry material much of which would, absent the accreditation requirements, be purely promotional. This would degrade the overall quality of content doctors are exposed to.

Space constraints prevented me from making one additional point. Interested parties in this debate have an inflated view of the importance of accredited CME. Think about it. What’s 30 hours, the typical state requirement, compared to the total time doctors spend reading and attending lectures?

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