Is CME still a safe harbor for off-label?

I'm just now finally getting around to writing up something about the "Navigating the CME Landscape to Improve Patient Care: Pleasures, Pain, Perils, and Pitfalls of Commercial Support" session from last January's Alliance for CME annual conference (excellent, excellent session!), and ran across something in my notes that gave me pause.

When an audience member asked about funding for a program about off-label uses for depression medications in adolescents, all the panelists could say was, "Sorry." One added, "There is a tremendous need for education in some topics, but [pharma companies] can‘t support them."

While disheartening to the CME provider, it was not an unexpected response, given the recent media roasting some companies have had over off-label uses of depression medications for adolescents. But it makes me wonder just how safe a harbor CME is for off-label drug usage discussion. While you may still be able to talk about it, if no one will provider commercial support for the activity, chances are it won't happen, at least for many CME providers.

I'd love to know your thoughts; you can leave them in the comments area below, or e-mail me.

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