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How independent can a CME program be?

Vol. 8, No. 10 / October 2009

I appreciate Dr. Henry A. Nasrallah’s editorial examining funding of continuing medical education (CME) programs (“The $1.2 billion CME crisis,” From the Editor, Current Psychiatry, July 2009). CME programs are critical to keep doctors informed about the latest advances and enhance their skills at frequent intervals. In addition, CME programs are important support for primary care physicians who practice in rural areas and work with traditionally underserved populations.

The majority of physicians agree that CME programs meet their educational needs. Pharmaceutical firms often view sponsored CME programs as opportunities to promote their product. It is well known that these companies try to influence the selection of topics and speakers as well as content of CME programs.

I strongly agree with Dr. Nasrallah’s proposal to pool funding from multiple pharmaceutical companies that is then allocated to applicants by a third party. In this manner, CME programs could guarantee the highest level of transparency and scrutiny.

Gurprit Lamba, MD
Third-year resident
St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
Boston, MA

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