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July 18, 2001

The Pharmaceutical Industry and Continuing Education

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;286(3):302-304. doi:10.1001/jama.286.3.302

To the Editor: Dr Relman1 points out that the pharmaceutical industry not only sponsors CME but also increasingly determines its content. We are afraid that Relman is right, but what he shows is just the tip of the iceberg. The industry does so much more. Megatrials are not only paid for by industry but also designed, carried out, and analyzed by industry. The industry changes honorable journals into supplement suppliers. The industry makes medical meetings look like industry meetings. Although objectivity is lost when industrial money mixes with the profession, we do not agree with Relman's solution to separate the two. Separation would be mainly counterproductive. It would remove economic incentives that are a major stimulus of scientific progress.