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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 16936

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

Morris L, Taitsman JK
The Agenda for Continuing Medical Education— Limiting Industry’s Influence
NEJM 2009 Dec 17; 361:(25):2478-2482
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/361/25/2478?query=TOC


Abstract:

Most physicians must complete accredited continuing medical education (CME) programs to maintain their medical licenses, hospital privileges, and specialty board certifications. Data from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) show that CME is a $2 billion per year business in the United States that earns less than half its revenue from physician learners themselves.1 CME is increasingly underwritten by commercial sponsors – primarily manufacturers of drugs, biologic therapies, or medical devices – that spend more than $1 billion per year in educational grants and other funding to cover more than half the costs for CME activities.1 Industry funding . . .

 

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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909