Required reading on industry-funded CME

A devastating indictment. That’s what Dr. Daniel Carlat – on his blog – called yesterday’s piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Drug firms’ cash skews doctor classes: Company-funded UW courses often favor medicine, leave out side effects.”

I’m late in weighing in on this, so I’ll just refer you to Carlat’s analysis.

But I will add this: somehow that little paper in Milwaukee continues to publish top-notch tough investigative health care journalism and their readers should appreciate what they’re getting while they’re still getting it. This story was more than 2,500 words of important news – not the usual 300 word drivel trumpeting breakthroughs from the medical journals. Carlat said “Occasionally, a piece of investigative journalism sets into motion processes that strike corrupt business practices at their core. …it will become required reading for all those involved in health care policy.”

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John Butler

April 1, 2009 at 8:34 pm

The article makes this type of marketing practice seem like a new discovery. It has been around for awhile. News is… transparency, I believe has remarkably improved in recent years. Most institutions are extremely sensitive to bias- in contrast to the past.
I think this it is important for the public to know that a huge amount of pharma marketing is used to influence physician practices. Journal ads, “detailing” literature, pencils and pens- its everywhere.
However, what was expected and acceptable 10-20 years ago, has dramatically diminished in my opinion.
I just returned from a week long CME conference presented by Mayo, and each presenter preceded his presentation with financial disclosures- a minority had them. But, there was transparency.
This is in extreme contrast to past practices.
I think the news is that disclosure and transparency is headed in the right direction.
John Butler MD