NEW YORK, NY – January 27, 2009 – A study by healthcare market research firm Manhattan Research found that only 9% of U.S. physicians oppose commercial support for continuing medical education (CME) funding. The results of this study are relevant to the ongoing discussion in the medical community about the role of commercial funding of CME. Healthcare market research firm Manhattan Research conducted a survey to gauge physician opinion on commercially-funded CME and the proposed ban. The online study was fielded in the third quarter of 2008 among a nationally representative sample of U.S. physicians, including primary care and specialist audiences.
In an effort to better understand the positions of those who actually use continuing medical education, Manhattan Research surveyed physicians on their opinions with regard to their use and the potential bias of industry-funded programs. The Manhattan Research study reports that only 8% of physicians who participated in CME believe that it is biased. In fact, if commercial support is halted, nearly half of the physicians surveyed would decrease their use of CME.
According to the study, almost all physicians utilize CME programs to maintain and grow their medical knowledge and to keep up-to-date on the latest advances in their specialty with the ultimate goal of improving patient care. Pharmaceutical companies are a funding source for CME programs, which has prompted some critics to question their influence over CME course content. In response, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the organization that accredits CME Providers, has augmented its standards and guidelines to ensure the independence of commercially supported CME activities. The American Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) is also expected to issue a new report on commercially-supported CME later this year.
“While there’s been debate around the value of industry-supported CME, as our study reveals, it’s important to listen to the voice of the majority of physicians,” said Mark Bard, Manhattan Research President. “Rather than pulling the plug on a vital source of CME funding, the primary beneficiaries of CME - physicians and patients - would be best served by continued improvements to course availability, offerings, and content through increased collaboration among medical and academic organizations, the pharmaceutical industry, CME providers, and accreditation bodies.”
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High quality CMEs will have to be commercially funded. Its up to the physicians to glean the essence and overlook the hard sell.