Should the C in CME Stand for Commercial? - Southern Med Review Vol 5 Issue 1 July 2012
(2012; 3 pages)


Imagine you are on trial for a serious crime and that if convicted you will be sentenced to serve time in a prison run by a for-profit corporation. (There are such prisons in the United States (US).) Now, imagine that your lawyer, who is supposed to represent your best interests, has had her continuing legal education paid for by the same for-profit corporation that runs the prison. How confident are you that your lawyer will actually represent your best interests? This is essentially the situation that patients face when doctors have their continuing medical education (CME) paid for by pharmaceutical companies. The latest figures on company sponsorship give some cause for hope – in 2010 in the US, industry funded 31% of CME compared to 48% in 2007 – but we should not feel complacent about the situation. Industry continues to fund thousands of events for doctors around the world. In Australia from April 1 to September 30, 2011 companies represented by Medicines Australia, the organization for the brand-name industry, spent over $40 million (AUS) on 18,000 events attended by 423,000 people, primarily doctors, with over $18 million of the total going on hospitality.

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