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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 14069

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Lexchin J.
Doctors and Industry Funding of Continuing Medical Education: Guilty as Charged
The Israeli Journal of Emergency Medicine 2008 Jun; 8:(2):23-25


In the United States, some prisons are managed by investor-owned, for-profit corporations. In large measure, the amount of money these corporations receive is determined by the number of prisoners housed in the jails they run. Now imagine if the vast majority of continuing education of appointed judges was paid for by the companies that run these prisons. How confident would you be, if you were a prisoner appearing before one of these judges, that you would get a fair trial?

For doctors, the state of continuing medical education (CME) almost perfectly fits this analogy. Studies from Canada and the United States show that 60%-70% of all monies invested in running CME come from commercial sources — mostly companies that make and sell prescription medications[1,2]…


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As an advertising man, I can assure you that advertising which does not work does not continue to run. If experience did not show beyond doubt that the great majority of doctors are splendidly responsive to current [prescription drug] advertising, new techniques would be devised in short order. And if, indeed, candor, accuracy, scientific completeness, and a permanent ban on cartoons came to be essential for the successful promotion of [prescription] drugs, advertising would have no choice but to comply.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963