To quote from the article:
On Tuesday, Stanford plans to announce that it will no longer let drug and device companies specify which courses they wish to finance. Instead, companies will be asked to contribute only to a schoolwide pool of money that can be used for any class, even ones that never mention a company’s products.
With its approach, Stanford becomes the sixth major medical school — including those at the universities of Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Kansas and California Davis — to form schoolwide pools for university contributions to medical education, according to the Prescription Project, a nonprofit organization that largely opposes industry financing of medical education. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, meanwhile, has banned all industry support for its doctor classes.
For an in depth explanation of Stanford's new policy, as well as an interesting description of the process leading up to its adoption, see Stanford Dean Philip Pizzo's statement here. Here are the key points:
1. The new policy is based on the work of a Task Force on Industry Support of CME which provided the Dean with a menu of options, including the possibility of banning all industry funding.
2. The impetus for the Task Force included several reports on industry funding of CME that I've covered in earlier postings, including the AMA's CEJA proposal, the Macy Foundation report, and the recommendations of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).
3. While the policy is described in the New York Times as prohibiting companies from specifying which courses they finance, the actual policy wording is disturbingly more nuanced, and appears to allow companies to at least specify the therapeutic areas to be supported. Here is the passage of most relevance to this critical issue, with the my highlighting:
At the same time, the School recognizes that industry may wish to provide CME program support that is not designated to a specific subject, course or program but that is intended for use in a broadly defined field or discipline or field of study. Accordingly, if such support from industry for CME is received it must be directed to the Office of Continuing Medical Education. The Office of Continuing Medical Education will be responsible for coordinating and distributing funds for CME programs in the following general categories: medical, pediatric and surgical specialties; diagnostic and imaging technologies and disciplines; health policy and disease prevention; or other areas approved by the Office of CME. Such industry support cannot be designated for a specific course or program, but every effort will be made to direct support, as appropriate, to the specified general areas of interest, as noted above.While this new policy is absolutely a step forward, the devil will be in the details of how it is implemented by Stanford's CME Office.