Thomas A. M. Kramer, MD


Medscape General Medicine. 2004;6(1):e31 

In This Article

The Failure of CME

There is too much money on the table. Sales of pharmaceutical products are a big business and a competitive business. They will market their products somehow. How can we best influence their marketing practices for our own education? The current CME system, based for the most part on pharmaceutical funding of supposedly unbiased programs, has very little credibility with anyone. Tightening bias restrictions is a lost cause, because there is so much money involved. Some advocate for prohibiting any pharmaceutical or for-profit sponsorship of CME programs, but my guess is that this could never happen, and if it did, the system would totally collapse. Who would pay for educational programs?

I propose that we allow them to make their best pitch. Require CME to come from competing products -- for example, a minimum of 3 different competing agents for the same indication, allowing the presentations to balance each other. Nonprofit CME providers such as professional organizations or medical societies could be encouraged or even required to provide educational programs on competitive off-patent products that normally would not be marketed.