CME’s – The Pharmaceutical Industries Way to Get at your Doctor

CME’s, aka Continuing Medical Education credits, is supposedly the way to make sure your physician is keeping up with the latest in medicine. Instead, it is the way that the pharmaceutical industry is using this tool as a way of “reallocation of marketing money” according to Dr. Jerome Kassierer former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the November 22nd issue of the esteemed science journal Nature, reporter Jim Giles show how drug companies who “sponsor” the CME classes, are getting undue influence over the speakers and topics despite supposed firewalls put in to prevent this. All of the drug companies are up in arms over the research presented by Drs. Jatinder Takhar and Daniel Carlat in separate papers.

The suggestion made in the article that drug companies should pool their CME support money for distribution by an independent body to reduce corporate influence. This would be a good first step.

Another issue that needs to be addressed is the influence these multi-billion dollar companies have in our medical schools. It is my understanding that representitives from these companies continue to infiltrate medical schools influencing the educational process undertaken by the students. This kind of bias building is wrong and needs legislative pressure to come to bear to stop it.