Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Live Blogging the Senate Hearing on Industry-Funded CME

2 pm: Let the games begin!

2:15-- Senator Al Franken: Proud that his state of Minnesota was the first to pass a disclosure law in 1993. However, transparency is not enough, because between 2002-2004 many millions were paid to physicians for marketing activities.

2:25-- Lew Morris, General Counsel, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General: We need more effective safeguards. The current environment allows drug companies to choose topics related to their products. We suggest independent CME grant organizations. They would serve as firewalls between donors and the education. It's not clear that companies will go along with this.

2:30-- Dr. Steven Nissen, Chair, Cleveland Clinic Department of Cardiovascular Medicine:
CME has become an insidious vehicle for the promotion of medical products. This is undermining the independence of medical societies. Current ACCME oversight is ineffective. Few if any communication companies have lost their accreditation for biased CME. He has written letters of complaint about some activities to ACCME but he received no response.

2:35-- Dr. Eric Campbell, Associate Professor and Director of Research, Institute of Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School:
The members of the Institute of Medicine Committee generally agreed that CME has become far too reliant on industry funding. The current system of funding is unacceptable. More transparency is necessary.

2:40-- Jack Rusley, Chair, Culture of Medicine Action Committee, American Medical Student Association; Student, Brown University Alpert School of Medicine:
AMSA has been a leader in the movement to clean up conflicts of interest. Students are able to be passionate advocates for patient care, since they are not already tangled up in payments from industry. He talked about the Harvard Medical student's rally to improve its COI policy. Harvard had received an "F" on AMSA scorecard in past but due to recent changes now earns a "B".

3:00-- Dr. Thomas Stossel, Director, Translational Medicine Division and Senior Physician, Hematology Division, Brigham & Women’s Hospital; Leadership, Association of Clinical Researchers and Educators (ACRE):
Medicine is much better now than when he started training. Death rates from cancer and heart disease are lower. We have a great system of innovation and education. There has been a lot of moral bullying, but not a lot of evidence. Do patients benefit from physician industry collaboration? Definitely.

3:05-- Dr. James Scully, Medical Director and CEO, American Psychiatric Association (APA):
We do need to support continuing innovation in medicine. But patients need to be able to rely on the objectivity of their physicians. The APA has decided to phase out all industry-supported medical education symposia. We are the first medical society to do this. This will cost us a million and a half dollars this year. But we feel it is well worth the cost.

3:10-- Dr. Murray Kopelow, President, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education:
ACCME is the firewall between promotion and education. 15% of providers receive 80% of commercial support. He recounted many proposals to limit promotional influence, but said that none of them have been implemented yet. We are improving our surveillance of CME activities. We are increasing our staff.


Joshua Dorsky, MD said...

Thank you, Daniel, for all that you have done, directly and indirectly, to help make these hearings possible! A great day for our profession!

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