Frederic S. Wilson, Category Manager CME, with a Research-based Pharmaceutical Manufacturer, left this rebuttal in the comments to this post about a very negative view of the CME-pharma connection. I have his permission to post it again here, in case you missed it in the comments.
As an employee of a research-based pharmaceutical manufacturer, I have a fiduciary role in supporting CME. Medicine‘s experts want to participate in our research and development activity, often as principal investigators in clinical trials of our potential new medicines. Subsequently, they want to share their learnings with practicing physicians for the betterment of patient care. And, that‘s who the practicing physicians want to learn from, preferably in some CME setting, because the content will have undergone peer-review via the process required of accredited CME providers. It cannot be biased in favor of the new product, just because the manufacturer underwrites the cost of the activity. But, the manufacturer will just be pleased if physicians learn how to use, and when not to use, its new product correctly.
Naysayers like Jerome Kassirer see such ethical collaboration as a conflict of interest. As a patient with an incurable disease, I am delighted personally to know that companies‘ research and development can be rapidly translated into clinical practice by my physicians, thanks to the CME enterprise. The only conflict of interest that I have is with Mr. Kassirer and others, who attempt to restrict my physicians‘ learning of the latest advancements in pharmacological therapy.