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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
http://isrjem.org/Isrjem_June08.Funding%20Lexchin_Postprod.pdf


Abstract:

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]…


Notes:

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Cases of wilful misrepresentation are a rarity in medical advertising. For every advertisement in which nonexistent doctors are called on to testify or deliberately irrelevant references are bunched up in [fine print], you will find a hundred or more whose greatest offenses are unquestioning enthusiasm and the skill to communicate it.

The best defence the physician can muster against this kind of advertising is a healthy skepticism and a willingness, not always apparent in the past, to do his homework. He must cultivate a flair for spotting the logical loophole, the invalid clinical trial, the unreliable or meaningless testimonial, the unneeded improvement and the unlikely claim. Above all, he must develop greater resistance to the lure of the fashionable and the new.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963