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Many pharmaceutical companies provide Continuing Medical Education (CME) for prescribing physicians. Although these programmes run by drug companies do not overtly market their drugs, physicians may get the impression that a disease or condition is underdiagnosed and best treated with a prescription. Following on from the previous column about the influence of pharmaceutical companies on medical research there is now a resource listing ways for physicians to complete their CME credits without being influenced by the bias of drug companies.
The online resource, PharmedOut is an independent project run by Georgetown University School of Medicine staff members for physicians and other prescribers:
PharmedOut is one of more than 20 programmes funded by a $21 million grant from the Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Grant Program that are intended to teach physicians and nurses to more critically evaluate information from pharmaceutical companies about prescription drugs. Ironically the funding for the grant comes from a drug company, a settlement from a court case about unlawful marketing of a drug:
The grant will fund programs designed to provide health care professionals and consumers information relating to prescription drugs, including the way in which drugs are marketed.
Mini syllabi available on PharmedOut include:
* Your Friendly Drug Rep
* Why You Get Samples
* Industry Sponsored Research
* Disease Mongering
* Direct to Consumer (DTC) Promotion
Resources also include many links to other websites of similar organisations. The CME suggestions include the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) video lecture series, along with many other options.
1. Greenfield, T. "Drug trials should also answer clinical questions." WEBlog on www.dadamo.com</i>
2. "Pharma-Free CME" PharmedOut website: www.pharmedout.org<br />
3. "The Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program" website: www.ohsu.edu/cpgp/<br />
4. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Online Continuing Education Series NCCAM website: nccam.nih.gov
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