Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Next Phase in Industry-Funded Medical Education

For those who are shedding tears over the imminent demise of direct industry-funded CME, there is hope. The American Psychiatric Association will allow companies to host "product theaters" at the upcoming annual meeting in San Francisco. I just received the following invitation from Shire. As you can see, the faculty members are Shire employees, and the postcard makes it clear that "this is a promotional event. CME credit will not be available for this session." It's transparent, it's promotional education, and it's honest. I look forward to learning more about their current and upcoming products.


Gina Pera said...

Yes, that's definitely more like it.

Steven Reidbord MD said...

Well, the transparency is better than duplicitous CME, but I can't say I now feel great about doctors going off to hear a pharma sales pitch simply because it's advertised as such.

Keeping CME honest is a very important goal, and we seem to be heading in that direction. But another, even more important goal is for every doctor to feel a professional and ethical duty to obtain unbiased medical knowledge to help patients. In this case the drug company has fulfilled its ethical duty (to be honest), but I'm not sure physician attendees will have fulfilled theirs.

I don't avert my eyes from journal ads, but choosing to go to an explicit promotional event is another thing in my view.

Gina Pera said...

I agree, Steve, that many physicians will not feel compelled to research the topic further. These same physicians, no doubt, will take no pains to learn more about vitamins and minerals (you know, the things that make brain signals happen).

Time for physician reform! :-)