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Bias in CME: Accusation vs Evidence

November 09, 2009

Bias in CME: Accusation vs Evidence

Today we are going to talk about bias in CME as it’s been the subject of a lot of discussion and a lot of reports, some congressional testimony, and most recently the American Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, or CEJA.

CEJA Report

CEJA issued a report where they talked about the possibility for subtle bias to exist when CME activities are underwritten or funded by the pharmaceutical industry. While they stated that they believe subtle bias may exist, the most comprehensive and most recent study to date directly contradicts that AMA report. I want to give you some highlights today from a study that was recently published in the September 2009 American Journal of Medicine. In that study, Allison Hennigans and others reported several top items.

Report Highlights

First off, more than a million physicians actually responded to a survey via the Medscape CME online portal. These respondents were asked about possible bias in two CME activities: those that were funded via pharmaceutical industry grants, and those that were not underwritten by any pharmaceutical or medical industry grants. Regarding the question of bias, less than 1% of the million physicians who responded indicated any bias in either type of activity, weather it was funded by the pharmaceutical industry or not funded. Six percent of the physicians simply said they had no opinion. So in summary, 93% of more than a million physicians affirmatively responded that they perceived no bias in either type of CME activity, whether it was underwritten by pharmaceutical industry grants or whether it was not underwritten by those types of grants. In the future it seems that we would want to see more evidence-based material being sighted for any type of policy proposals weather they are produced privately or through the American Medical Association, as well as other national organizations. If you have any questions about the AMA report, or the recent study that was published in the American Journal of Medicine, feel free to contact us here