The American Medical Association seems to have taken a report recommending the end of industry funding of Continuing Medical Education (CME) off its website. The recommendations, brought before the AMA’s Reference Committee on Amendments to Constitution and Bylaws by the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) last year, were unambiguous:
“Individual physicians and institutions of medicine, such as medical schools, teaching hospitals, and professional organizations (including state and medical specialty societies) must not accept industry funding to support professional education activities. Exception should be made for technical training when new diagnostic or therapeutic devices and techniques are introduced. Once expertise in the use of previously new devices has developed within the professional community, continuing industry involvement in educating practitioners is no longer warranted.
They have been replaced by this two-page update – “Industry Support for Professional Education in Medicine-Update” — that urges CEJA “to more fully address potentially different implications for different stakeholders in medical education and to seek further input from stakeholders.” As reported earlier (see Carlat’s post), the Council has been assigned to work with Council on Medical Education to develop “complementary, companion reports,” and word is that industry funding will be OKed this time around.
Meanwhile, the AMA continues to defend the impartiality of industry-funded CME through an industry-backed task force it has housed for two decades. This Task Force on CME Provider/Industry Collaboration, whose annual conference was supported by Educational Measures, Medscape, Pfizer Inc., Pri-Med, Wyeth and a host of MECC exhibitors, is made up of “50 senior professionals from CME providers, grantor companies, and other industry organizations.” The task force has launched a campaign called “Get the Facts,” which seems aimed to reverse a growing sense in the profession that the independence of physician education is compromised by its overwhelming financial reliance on the pharmaceutical industry:
“The media, state and federal law and policy makers as well as regulators and other ‘collective/consensus opinions’ frequently use and disseminate information that can lead to incorrect assumptions and false perceptions about CME. This has led to increased regulatory scrutiny and critical public opinion regarding CME practices. Get involved! Help Get the Facts straight!”
UPDATE: We contacted the AMA and learned that the Get the Facts! Campaign was launched Oct. 22, 2008.