A 10-Year Fight to Rein in Pharmaceutical Promotion

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From The Chronicle of Higher Education: Last week, 200 doctors and scientists assembled at Georgetown University for the 10th annual conference of PharmedOut, an educational project designed to teach physicians about the marketing practices of the pharmaceutical industry. One major goal of PharmedOut is to separate continuing medical education from the promotional influences of pharmaceutical companies.

“I’m hoping that 10 years from now there will be no pharmaceutical company or medical-device manufacturer or biotech manufacturer funding any medical education. CME is not regulated by the FDA, because they say it’s education. And we’re saying, No, it’s promotion — it is all promotion, every bit of it. It may be hard to see.

There have been surveys of doctors on whether they see industry bias in teaching modules, and 95 percent of them say no. But they’re not trained to detect bias. I have trained students to detect marketing in industry-funded modules. We’re the only group doing this.”

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