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VIEW: Should CMEs be Pharma Sponsored?

VIEW: Should CMEs be Pharma Sponsored?

The news of Indian Medical Association having diluted the ‘advisory’ to its branches from banning sponsorships to avoid taking sponsorships from the Pharma industry is focus of discussion in Media today. It may  be clarified that IMA is a voluntary organization which has no authority to issue any diktat to its members directly or through its affliate branches as it has no statutory jurisdiction on them. Yet, why a stricture was issued in first place and what compelled the office bearers to dilute it is not a matter of discussion today.

But the move itself has certainly raised a very pertinent question – whether CMEs should be Pharma sponsored or purely academic?

Medical council of India in its summary guidelines  of Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) (Amendment) Regulations, 2009 – Part-I is very clear about prohibiting Medical professionals from receiving Gifts, Travel facilities, Hospitality and  Cash or monetary grants from  pharmaceutical and allied healthcare industry or endorsing  any drug or product of the industry publicly. But receiving sponsorships for organizing CME’s,   Seminars, Symposias or conferences is a grey area as MCI is silent on this issue.

The general public perception is that after all pharma companies are not actually charity organizations so why would they sponsor medical events without expecting anything in return. Pharma companies are frequently under the microscope due to a variety of circumstances unique to this industry. Because it is very difficult to ascertain real objective of   Company- sponsored event i.e. whether a sponsored event or engagement is related to scientific exchange or is promotional/ commercial in nature.

Yet there is also a view that to say big no to Pharma companies with respect to sponsorship of medical events to counter general public perception is also not entirely correct .Medical practitioners need to update their knowledge on day to day basis for which it is essential to attend CME’s, Seminars, Symposias or conferences and industry-funded CME is more likely to happen in the absence of availability of any Govt. funded CME’s. Moreover, In the absence of provision of any structured training or opportunity to dabble with emerging technologies by the Government, stopping organization of Pharma funded CME’s  may condemn us to archaical practices.

The need of the hour is to strike a balance and accept sponsorship for organizing CME’s but without compromising with its academic content. The policy of allowing doctors to receive sponsorship for attending conferences also needs to be reviewed as most of the hospitals/institutions in India do not have any provisions to send doctors to National and International conferences .Therefore ,it becomes economically not viable especially for faculty members or Junior Doctors to attend the same without accepting  sponsorship from Pharma companies. Under the circumstances the  doctors may  be allowed to accept sponsorships for attending conferences from pharmaceutical companies with a cap limiting their  number to 2-3  in one year.

Should Medical Conferences, CMEs be Pharma Sponsored?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the above article are solely those of the author/agency in his/her private capacity and do not represent the views of Medical Dialogues.
Source: self
4 comment(s) on VIEW: Should CMEs be Pharma Sponsored?

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  1. Doctors are quite busy,they required time to upgrade knowledge,but incase of CME mostly it is occassion of get-together,However those wants to really upgrade their knowledge must take a break & do the same.
    Companies are victimised & blackmailed under the name of CME,sponcerships.

  2. There must be a disclosure clause stating that this is not for Business promotion and only for academic purpose..part of the Profit money Pharma companies should use for CSR and educational purposes as everybody knows….Doctors also should know their limitations …Then it will be win-win situation for all.

  3. However salary should be more than that of a Class IV employee at a Govt hospital !!!

  4. user
    Dr P Zachariah May 8, 2017, 9:46 am

    Direct sponsorship of medical conferences or attendance at them is bound to create conflict of personal interests in the practice of the profession. If the corporates are truly interested in promoting the profession through conferences and workshops, they could make contributions to a common pool which will subsidies such activities based on merit and need. The pool could also award travel fellowships based on merit and competition for attending enrichment programmed of different kinds.