TORONTO — The Canadian Medical Association Journal is calling for an overhaul of the system by which working doctors keep abreast of medical developments, saying the reliance on funding from drug companies distorts medical practice and compromises the ethical underpinnings of the profession.Quote has been trimmed
In a strongly worded editorial, the journal’s editor-in-chief Dr. Paul Hebert placed much of the blame on doctors themselves, saying they have developed a sense of entitlement to the lavish perks often passed off as continuing medical education or CME credits.
While there have been efforts in recent years to crack down on some of the largesse, stories abound of doctors being given family cruises if they agree to attend a few hours of lectures put on by the drug company that sponsored the cruise or CME sessions booked at exclusive golf clubs.
"Over the years, the powerful pharmaceutical enticements have resulted in physicians believing that strong industry involvement is not only normal but also that they are entitled to receive the benefits. This culture of entitlement is one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome," Hebert wrote.
"We seem to have conveniently forgotten that the pharmaceutical industry is in business to make money, not to educate health professionals."