[One CME defender] conflated two issues: the remarkable advances in medicine over the past few decades and industry funding of CME. The two are not related. We’ve had advances in medicine because of great science and appropriate interactions between doctors and industry–bona fide relationships based on developing products and conducting clinical trials. None of these relationships would be threatened in any way by the Physician Payments Sunshine Act or by the IOM’s proposal to greatly scale back industry funding of CME.
My favorite moment of the hearing was when Senator Al Franken directly confronted [this speaker], saying (again, I’m paraphrasing): “You seem to draw a lot of conclusions from anecdotes of people who have benefited from modern medicine. Medicine is a lot better now than when we were kids, but that doesn’t mean that industry should fund CME.”
[The] comments [from the CME accrediting organization spokesperson] were disappointing in the extreme. He repeated a single refrain, saying, in essence: “There is no problem with bias in CME. We are doing our job well. ACCME is the firewall between promotion and education.” C’mon … You know what’s going on. You’ve seen the many, many letters of complaint reporting biased programs. In fact, you reprimanded one company for bias within the last few months–I know, because the reprimand was based on my letter. It only took you about two years to issue your decision. I won’t mention the specifics in this blog because I promised you I wouldn’t.