This followup to Wednesday's section meeting was pretty hot, seeing as it focused mainly on responding to the JAMA article about banning pretty much all industry involvement in academic medical settings. Everyone seemed to agree that some sort of response was needed, and the audience went about thinking about what action steps could be taken to counter the negative press.
One suggestion was to agree to no longer send any commercial support to individual clinical departments, to only work through the CME office, which many pharma companies already do. For those who still work granting through sales reps who rely on their relationships with key opinion leaders and department heads, it might be a little harder to get them to work strictly through the CME department, though.
Another suggestion was to get input from some CME leaders who are well-respected leaders in this area, such as Van Harrison, on their willingness to wade into the fray. Many thought it was time to put together a white paper that outlines the reality of CME, the history of collaboration between industry and CME, and the safeguards that are already in place. Others suggested writing letters to the editor of various newspapers, and getting loud with congressional representatives on the issue.
One person suggested that the information might not seem credible coming from industry folks or PhRMA, and suggested that the Society for Academic CME might be willing to take up the cause instead. "PhRMA feels it already dealt with CME with the PhRMA Code," one person said. "They're drowning in Part D right now, and probably wouldn't want to take this on."
"We need to pull other entities into this so we're not standing alone and looking self-serving," another person said. "We shouldn't be paying for all of this. Other entities are involved in CME, and should be involved" in defending the way it's supported commercially.
Another action item was to let CME providers know that not only do commercial supporters not frown on activities that have multiple supporters, but that they view this as a positive. Being the sole supporter these days just adds to the perception of bias, they said.