The Medical Profession, Industry, and Continuing Medical Education: Finding the Balance That's Right for Patients


      Provision and participation in formal external continuing medical education (CME) is costly. Employer or state support of CME is the exception rather than the rule. The medical industry has supported both providers and consumers of educational activities, leading to concerns of commercial bias. Recent medical industry initiatives in Europe to improve the transparency of the relationship between industry and the profession, including the field of medical education, have had the paradoxical effect of the industry playing an increasingly direct role in the provision of physician education. Funding of medical professional society annual congresses has been directly and indirectly jeopardized. Acknowledging that there are areas of cooperation in the field of education between the medical profession and the medical industry from which both can benefit, we argue that medical education requires an objective approach that the primary fiduciary duty of medical industry companies precludes. Medical professional societies, as not-for-profit organizations whose core mission is the development and promotion of best practice, are best placed to guide and deliver medical education to their members.


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