CME debate spurs med school to spurn pharma funding

Over the past couple of years, we've seen an outcry over pharma-industry funding for CME. Indeed, an HHS inspector general told Congress that industry funding has "bastardized" continuing medical education. The U.S. Senate launched an investigation.

The controversy gained so much traction, drugmakers started backing away from some CME sponsorships. Pfizer pledged to stop funding private CME courses, and it partnered up with Stanford to offer "bias-free" continuing education. GlaxoSmithKline said it would stop supporting private CME, too.

Now, as the New York Times reports, at least one medical school is foregoing pharma funding for CME altogether. The University of Michigan Medical School is the first institution to refuse money from drug- and devicemakers to pay for CME classes.

Of course, not everyone is against industry-funded CME. Some doctors and academics say they want access to the latest in private-sector research. And a Harvard professor started his own organization in favor of pharma support for academics. In fact, the debate has spawned its very own conference, which takes place today at Georgetown University.

- read the NYT piece
- see a letter from the U of M dean on the CME changes