Alliance meeting day 2, cont.: Preventing the appearance of commercial bias

Playing catchup this afternoon, yesterday's session by Karen Overstreet, EdD, Indicia Medical Education, and Jacqueline Parochka, EdD, Excellence in Continuing Education, on preventing the appearance of commercial bias, was mainly a series of cases we responded to via audience response system (thanks, Meridia, for providing the ARS!) and discussed. I'll scatter a few of these in posts as I have time. Thanks to the presenters for the interesting cases. Here's one:

    Case 1: Venue and role of commercial supporter

    Ms. Doe Right, the vp and director of education, Renal Dialysis Medical Specialty Society, has just produced a DVD titled, "New Pediatric Treatment Options," that was funded by an educationala grant from Better Kidneys, USA. The CME unit staff members are strapped for time, given that the annual conference is scheduled in less than two months and the board of directors has been promised that the DVD will be distributed to the membership before the meeting. She frantically calls her contact at Better Kidneys, USA, and begs them to help her distribute enduring material. She indicates that she will write a lettere of intent, prepared the instructions for distribution, and will supply the packaged DVDs and the membership mailing lists.

It was pretty much unanimous that the letter from the accredited provider did not protect the commercial supporter in terms of questions of accreditation, and likewise that commercial supporters cannot distribute enduring materials to participants. Alternate solutions the audience suggested included using BRCs and postcards, fulfillment houses, and the like. A couple of other notes were that it is OK for the sales rep to distribute brochures about the meeting, because they aren't educational materials, and also that it is OK to use a mailing list from a commercial supporter, as long as you cross-reference it with a list you obtained independently.

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