Is continuing medical education a drug-promotion tool? Yes and No

cfp.gif  From the October 2007 issue of Canadian Family Physician:

Marlow B. Is continuing medical education a drug-promotion tool? NO. Can Fam Physician 2007; 53(10):1650-1652.
CLOSING ARGUMENTS:

  • Industry practices in relation to continuing medical education and continuing professional development have changed dramatically in the last 10 years.
  • Accrediting bodies, such as the College of Family Physicians of Canada, have introduced measures in their accreditation standards that prevent promotion in accredited educational activities.
  • Physician organizations and industry leaders have established guidelines and codes that have been adopted widely and that clearly define the relationship between industry and physicians. These guidelines and codes ensure that accredited medical education and continuing professional development programs are balanced and unbiased.

Steinman MA, Baron RB. Is continuing medical education a drug-promotion tool? YES. Can Fam Physician 2007; 53(10):1650-1653.
CLOSING ARGUMENTS:

  • Medical education is an important part of drug companies’ promotional strategy to increase sales of their products.
  • Many continuing medical education (CME) programs are funded wholly or in part by drug and device manufacturers.
  • Despite various mechanisms to protect against commercial influence, financial conflicts of interest faced by CME providers and speakers can affect course content in favour of sponsors’ products.
  • To minimize commercial bias, physicians should seek CME programs with less industry sponsorship and with rigorous mechanisms to mitigate conflicts of interest.
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