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September 3, 2008

Industry Support of Medical Education

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

JAMA. 2008;300(9):1071-1073. doi:10.1001/jama.300.9.1071

Should professional medical institutions (medical schools and teaching hospitals) and their staff accept support from industry for their educational programs? This long-standing debate has become more urgent in recent years, particularly with respect to accredited continuing medical education (CME). With a budget now approaching $3 billion, CME is more than half supported by industry.1 Currently, most industry support is distributed through medical education and communication companies (MECCs) that act as agents for the pharmaceutical manufacturers. Many more billions of drug industry largesse is expended on personal gifts, favors, and payments to the physicians on the staff of teaching institutions.2

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