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Drug Companies’ Sponsorship of Continuing Medical Education a Scandal

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Not surprisingly, the pharmaceutical industry is resisting legislation that would force drug manufacturers to disclose how much money they spend to provide continuing medical education (CME) to doctors. (The legislation passed in the House; Senate versions make no mention of disclosure.)

John Kamp, a Washington, D.C., attorney who runs the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, wrote to Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., whose Special Committee on Aging is investigating drug manufacturer-funded CME courses, urging Kohl’s committee to “consider elimination of certified CME reporting in all versions of healthcare reform bills because they are unneeded, redundant, and needlessly expensive.” Add to this the revelation by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, that papers submitted by physicians enrolled in CME — articles that can affect the standard of patient care — are often authored by industry-funded ghostwriters. Consumers deserve to be confident that health providers base their treatment decisions on rigorous science, science unblemished by vested interest.

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