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August 20, 2008

A Historical Perspective of Pharmaceutical Promotion and Physician Education

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Center for the History of Medicine, Countway Medical Library, and Department of Social Medicine (Dr Podolsky) and Brigham and Women's Hospital Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics (Dr Greene), Harvard Medical School, and Department of History of Science (Dr Greene), Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts.

JAMA. 2008;300(7):831-833. doi:10.1001/jama.300.7.831

The medical profession has recently awakened to a crisis over industrial influence in medical education. In recent years, the problem of industrial funding of continuing medical education (CME) has been the subject of stern warnings from academic medicine, prominent congressional hearings, and strict revisions of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education's Standards for Commercial Support. Commercial support for CME continues to increase and now comprises more than half of all CME income. These clear indicators of dependence have raised widespread concerns of bias in the ongoing education of practicing physicians regarding new drugs and failure of the medical profession to assume responsibility for educating physicians.1

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