Today we are going to talk about One of the most hotly contested items in CME today, which is conflicts of interest in CME
In our review of the literature over the past several years, we have found that commercial support isn’t necessarily the key issue, but rather ethics is the key issue where people made bad choices that have caused mistakes and problems in CME. A couple of things related that are coming down the pipe- one relates to the IOM (Institute of Medicine) report recommended elimination of CME commercial support funding. We are seeing that the recommendation for a two year discussion on where funding should come from and how we should fund a good quality CME for the future. That recommendation is taken up partly by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, or CMSS.
Despite all the best intentions, the federal Institute of Medicine is trying to make proposals for CME’s future based on facts from the distant past. In its 2009 report on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice, the IOM released a report (underwritten by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation) calling for an end to educational grants from pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers.
Some of the report’s conclusions (Eliminate non-educational interventions from university campuses) make sense. But when you dig into the report’s findings on CME, you find mostly stale data and arguments that do not take into account the dramatic regulatory and accreditation board rules now required to ensure that CME excludes industry influence and addresses all conflicts of interest.
The ACCME is taking its leadership and regulatory role seriously by addressing several issues related to commercially supported continuing medical education. In addition to announcing that several accredited organizations were put on probation, the ACCME released a memo summarizing the March 2009 ACCME Board meeting.
Most of the debate over CME swirls around the estimated $1.1 billion in annual grant funding from pharmaceutical companies. That’s why last week’s GSK announcement that they will issue quarterly transparency reports on educational and charitable grants issued was welcome news to anyone who seeks a bright future for CME.
Starting February 2009, GSK will issue transparency reports on all U.S. grants to health-related organizations. The reports will include grants provided to organizations such as hospitals, teaching institutions, managed care organizations, professional associations, patient advocacy groups, and continuing medical education companies.
Whenever it feels like the sky is falling, the Pulse takes solace in one of grandma’s favorite axioms on life: the truth always comes out in the wash.
Nowhere is this more true today than in continuing medical education (CME). The trouble for all stakeholders is that CME, in terms of the “wash,” is just entering the spin cycle.
In just the past two months, we’ve seen the following cascade of activity and crises: