This report has just been released by the United States Senate Committee on Finance. Here is the news release [April 25, 2007]:
NEW FINANCE COMMITTEE REPORT FOCUSES ON DRUG COMPANY GRANTS FOR MEDICAL EDUCATION
Inquiry reveals educational grants as common business practice, but potential for abuse remains
From the executive summary:
Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Republican Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today released results of a Committee inquiry into drug company grants to fund continuing education for medical providers. Baucus and Grassley launched their probe following allegations that drug companies were using educational grants for improper purposes, such as rewarding physicians for prescribing their drugs, influencing clinical practice guidelines and Medicaid formularies, or promoting drugs for uses that have not been approved by the FDA – an illegal practice called “off-label promotion.” Guidance on keeping education programs independent of drug company influence has been issued by numerous organizations, including the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).
The report includes information from ACCME suggesting that some purportedly independent educational programs may still be influenced too much by their pharmaceutical sponsors. It appears that ACCME’s oversight of accredited CME providers is insufficient to guarantee the required independence.
Download the full report
Filed under: Industry & Health Care