Clinical trial chicanery and CME

I felt like I was tip-toeing through a minefield while writing True Lies, the cover story for the July/August issue of Medical Meetings. It's about all the chicanery we've been hearing about lately on the clinical trial level, and the p otential impact it has on CME if the data being taught is based on evidence that may be tainted. (I also wrote my editorial about it.) A snip from the article:

    Most would agree that the trend toward evidence-based medicine, and toward evidence-based continuing medical education, is a good one, that doctors should be basing their treatment decisions on the best available data, rather than anecdotal reports or their own personal experience. The prevailing wisdom also is that EBM is less likely to be influenced by the drug industry since it's based on scientific fact. Spurred on by the updated Accreditation Council for CME Standards for Commercial Support, now in effect, CME providers have been working diligently to make their CME more evidence-based and bias-free through stronger peer-review and content-validation processes. Sounds good, so far.

    The hitch is that now, with the recent flood of news reports about how pharmaceutical companies have been suppressing clinical research and manipulating data to present their drugs in the best possible light, you have to wonder if what you're doing to ensure bias-free CME is enough, or if you're just candy-coating a bitter pill.

I'd be curious to know what you all think about this. As I say in the editorial, personally I have a hard time believing that clinical trial data suppression and manipulation is a systemic problem. But it's clearly something that needs to be addressed—now.

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