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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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What these howls of outrage and hurt amount to is that the medical profession is distressed to find its high opinion of itself not shared by writers of [prescription] drug advertising. It would be a great step forward if doctors stopped bemoaning this attack on their professional maturity and began recognizing how thoroughly justified it is.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963