FDA NOTE The Coalition for Healthcare Communication (CHC) has released a position paper proposing new Food and Drug Administration guidelines for company dissemination of off-label (uses unapproved by the FDA) drug information. Recently, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that existing FDA guidelines and related provisions of the FDA Modernization Act are unconstitutional. The FDA has appealed the court's decision.

The Coalition position paper emphasizes that the dissemination of off-label scientific information by pharmaceutical and device manufacturers is critical, since it speeds valuable information to health care providers. The paper calls for free dissemination of peer-reviewed discussions of off-label uses, as long as they are not misleading and the relationship between researchers and corporate sponsors is fully disclosed.

"We hope this position paper will provide the public and industry with guidance and perspective--pending any final judicial action," says Jack Angel, CHC's executive director.

CME NOTES Dallas-based Primedia Workplace Learning reports that its health care division was awarded six years full accreditation as a provider of continuing education in nursing. The recognition is from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association.

Healthworld Corporation, an international firm specializing in medical communications, has announced that Medical Education Technologies, the company's U.S. medical education subsidiary, and Colwood House, its European medical education operation, are being combined to form a single global operating unit. It will be known as Colwood Healthworld. MET in the U.S. has specialized in continuing medical education programming, medical symposia, and advisory boards. The new structure, Healthworld claims, allows for seamless application of the most effective clinical communications strategies across all media and across all geographic and demographic audiences.

Is there a role for your CME organization to play in improving e-mail communication between physician and patient? Although 40 percent of general medicine clinic patients regularly use e-mail, only 14 percent of them have used it to communicate with their doctors, a recent survey by researchers at the University of Michigan Health System has found.

But 70 percent of patients (both e-mail users and nonusers) surveyed said they would like to communicate with their health care provider via e-mail. At the same time, 83 percent of the patients' physicians said they thought e-mail was a good way to answer patients' non-urgent medical questions, even though only 27 percent said they are currently using e-mail to communicate with patients.

A new alternative medicine advocate is on the CME scene, promoting the practice of holistic therapies as a way to boost physician incomes: Corpas Investments, Inc., Orlando, Fla., which recently acquired Interactive ConEd.com, Inc., a privately held Internet company specializing in online health care education, plans to debut a new Web site by March 30, 2000, at www.anti-agingphysician.com.

"We intend to become the leading business-to-business provider of online continuing medical education, medical practice services, and e-commerce for the anti-aging, holistic, alternative, functional, and complementary medical practice," said Ross Love, the corporation's new president, CEO, and chairman.

"Most doctors today practice reactionary medicine. This is only half of a medical practice's full income potential." When practitioners implement "full-circle practice management," the effect on the average health care practice's bottom line can be dramatic, contends Love. Instead of treating a patient once or twice a year when they get sick, the anti-aging physician monitors health by seeing patients 6 to 12 times a year, dramatically decreasing the risk of illness, Love said. "The savings to the health care industry is equally dramatic. It is far more cost-effective to monitor a healthy body than it is to treat a sick one."