Thursday, February 5, 2009

Great Britain May End Industry Support of CME

Great Britain’s Royal College of Physicians , which is in charge of accrediting continuing medical education, has just issued a report recommending, among other things, that industry funding of CME programs be gradually eliminated.

The report, a summary of which is posted here,
is entitled “Innovating for health: Patients, physicians, the pharmaceutical industry and the NHS.”

This report was developed by a work group chaired by Richard Horton (Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet), with representatives from the pharmaceutical industry (including Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline), academia, and the National Health Service.

The report’s specific recommendation regarding CME was:

“Decoupling the pharmaceutical industry from continuing professional development [this is Great Britain’s term for continuing medical education]. The industry presently pays for about half of all postgraduate medical education. In order to address widespread suspicions that drug promotion is carried out through continuing professional development, the working party recommends weaning postgraduate training off individual pharmaceutical company sponsorship over a time bound period while alternative sources of sustainable funding are organised through for example the royal colleges and the Department of Health.”

Other recommendation included:

· The creation of a program that could provide independent sources of evidence about the effectiveness of different prescription drugs for consumers.

· The creation and adoption of consistent ethical guidelines regarding relationships between doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

· Better collaboration among medical researchers from government, academia, and industry.

I hope that our own ACCME will study this document carefully, and will adopt the same recommendations.

(Hat tip to Kate Peterson and the Prescription Project for alerting me to this item).


JSB said...

I really hope that we in the USA can address the problem of "pseudo-CME". It has become disgusting looking at free CME materials typically attached to the back of throwaways like Psychiatric Times. These free "CMEs" are blatant marketing events.

This makes it difficult for us to siphon out these corrupted "CME programs" and I urge folks to get their CME through channels with NO commercial bias, eg the Carlat Report.


Anonymous said...

Do you have any comment on the editorial in BMJ?

Also, have you had a chance to read the commentaries on physicians' relationships with industry by Marcia Angell, Harlan Krumholz and Joseph Ross, and others?

Anonymous said...

I read the comments in the BMJ and I thought it was more of the same 'present two sides of the argument' with the trotting out of Marcia Angel and then letting industry have its 'say'. Why don't you just have a debate about whether or not it is OK to let govt contractors pay off politicians?

Another issue is industry buying prescribing behavior data from the AMA and CVS and then using that to give checks and gifts to reward high prescribing doctors. This behavior is like the payola system in radio of paying to get air time for your songs, or pay to play that crops up repeatedly with politicians and govt contracts, and should be appropriately prosecuted.

Supremacy Claus said...

Dr. Bremner: Doctors have a duty to report unprofessional conduct to licensing authorities.

If you know of any doctor that has received any benefit or payment for prescribing a drug, you should report the doctor. Failing to report unprofessional conduct is itself unprofessional.

If you do not have a specific misconduct to report, review this Georgia case with your attorney.

Anonymous said...

Good point, Dr. Bremner. That's been going on for years. How can we trust any "profession" that openly tolerates this kind of thing to police itself?

Can we really always blame physicians' weaknesses on Pharma?