Senators question pharma CME grants

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I just now heard about this one: According to PharmaLive.com, Senators Chuck Grassley and Max Baucus (Senate Committee on Finance) have asked several big pharma companies to give them more info on educational grants--they're worried that the money is being used to promote drugs, not educate doctors and other healthcare workers. And the info they want is just short of everything but the kitchen sink, according to the text of the letter printed here.

So, is this good or bad news? I'm not quite sure. More transparency could be good for the whole system, but I don't think many CME providers--or grantors, for sure--really want to invite more governmental regulation of the educational process. As happened with the Stark II law that recently went into effect, having legislators and regulators who really don't understand what this is all about trying to put controls on the CME-pharma relationship just leads to confusion (BTW, the Alliance for CME has a position paper on Stark II here.)

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