CME financially supported by industry often includes biases that might unduly influence an attendee’s choice and ultimately affect patient care. At present, there are no studies that have examined whether the industry funding of CME affects patient outcomes positively or negatively.
Funding remains an issue as costs related to medical training can be high depending on the discipline involved.
Seeking to fund CME initiatives, the medical fraternity has often no choice than to turn to the industry for support both financially and in kind.
Whilst Corporate Social Responsibility is always a noble consideration, most industry include educational funds and activities as part of their marketing budget, obviously the cost of product or service paid for by the consumer includes a margin for this.
Industry money is important for the financial health of many professional medical associations, the industry must also be able to exist through best practice product – service development and offering.
At times it appears that avoidance in addressing these ethical issues comes into play. Clarity and transparency go a long way, specifically where speakers with financial relationships with industry are concerned.
In 2020 at times we observe unconscious bias in presentations, resulting in the minimizing of disadvantages and emphasizing advantages supporting relevant devices and pharmaceutical products.
To prevent this, speakers need to disclose their conflicts of interest prior to present and review is to be done carefully and critically.
The Healthcare sector acknowledges that industry funding of CME might introduce bias and that increased support increases risk of bias.
Ultimately the patient’s interest and recovery is paramount, which should be the leading paradigm, and the funding of research and education is to be managed robustly, considering all aspects.
This argues the case for the engagement of external expertise to bridge the gap between industry and care providers to facilitate transparency and fairness
Pharmaceutical companies and device makers need and have the right to market to physicians providing the offering is identifiable and a true reflection of the pros and cons for the healthcare system.
In the end of all do well it is a win-win for all.