AMA Tables Plan to Ban CME Funding

June 18, 2008
Pharmaceutical Executive
Volume 0, Issue 0

The American Medical Association's proposal to keep pharma from funding CME programs was put on hold for further review. But don?t expect the plan to disappear for good.

The American Medical Association announced at its annual meeting on Monday that it would hold off on its plan to ban pharma companies from financing medical education programs until more research is completed.

The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs introduced the proposed policy guidelines on Saturday for discussion and comment. On Monday, the AMA's House of Delegates voted to refer the proposal back to the counsel for further review and refinement of the recommendations.

One of the issues that came through loud and clear was the need for the report to clarify promotional education versus accredited continuing education.

The proposal as it was presented stated:

  • Individual physicians and institutions of medicine must not accept industry funding to support professional education activities.
  • Medical schools and teaching hospitals must limit industry marketing and promotional activities on their campuses.
  • Medical professionals must work together to identify the most effective modes of instruction and evaluation for physician learners.

There was discussion about the burden of cost for providing CME and the current industry support. Industry currently covers about 50 percent of the $1 billion spent each year on continuing education. The group was also asked to consider what alternative source of funding could be found to limit the impact on the amount of CME available if industry support was eliminated.

The recommendations in the report run the gamut of medical education, and include rules against promotional as well as accredited educational programs.

"[The proposed rules] were not killed so that they would go away; they were only referred back for further refinements and recommendations and a chance for us to listen to the comments that were provided and to take them under consideration," said Rebecca Patchin, a trustee at AMA.

It's anticipated that the proposal will return for review by next year's meeting.