And you wonder why the general public has such a low opinion of the CME-pharma relationship. File this editorial from the Boston Globe as exhibit #3,928. It's written by Jerome Kassirer, author of a book called, "'On The Take: How Medicine's Complicity With Big Business Can Endanger Your Health," which gives you an idea of where he's coming from. A snip:
- Except for a handful of people, nobody has raised questions about whether ''unrestricted" grants are truly unencumbered; whether there are hidden incentives for some kind of ''payback." Nobody has inquired how recipient organizations arrange to get the grants, how much they receive, or how they administer the grants. Congress has finally opened the Pandora's box of industry sponsorship of continuing medical education, and once it discovers where the money is going, it seems likely that they will come calling, not just on the grantors, but also on the recipients.
Why does medicine have a problem? Because industry pays for well over half of the expense of doctors' continuing medical education. Virtually all the continuing education departments in hospitals, medical centers, and medical schools rely on drug-company funding. Everybody does it, and when four drug companies gave the Massachusetts General Hospital's Psychiatry Department $6.5 million dollars to spread its educational expertise, the reaction was muted.
Professional societies are equally dependent on drug-company money. They rely on grants for operating expenses, for running enormous annual meetings, and for developing treatment recommendations for practicing doctors. Societies solicit funds by peddling chunks of their annual meetings. For sale: company tote bags, a rodeo, a barbecue, or a cocktail party.
and so on (emphasis up top added by moi). So, the entire CME industry, the