Although most doctors feel that funding from the healthcare industry may bias continuing medical education (CME), a report published this week found that they don’t appear to be willing to pay for impartial information.
According to the report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, U.S. physicians spend an estimated $1,400 on CME each year. Without contributions from pharmaceutical and medical device companies — which cover up to 60% of CME costs in the United States — that amount would increase to $3,500 a year.
A survey of nearly 1,400 participants at five live CME activities sought to determine the impact of commercial support on bias and physician willingness to pay additional amounts to replace commercial support. Of the 770 respondents:
- 88% believed that commercial support of CME activities introduces bias.
- 15% supported elimination of commercial support.
- 42% were willing to pay increased registration fees to decrease or eliminate commercial support.
Most physicians did not want to see commercial support eliminated and, thus, have to pay more for unbiased education. Researchers surmise that while physicians may feel that bias exists, it is limited—or they feel they are immune to it. Does extra out-of-pocket money outweigh concerns about impartial medical information?