False Information Disseminated by Pharma, not Independent CME Providers
While Pharma’s compliance with anti-kickback laws has drastically improved the prevalence of pharmaceutical fraud, and while the days of phony grants and phony honorariums, etc. have for the most part, come to an end, whistleblowers will still be coming forward. Inappropriate tactics still exist and are taking on different forms. One of the tactics increasing in use is the dissemination of “scientific and educational” literature. In the past a legitimate expense, they can be a tool for improper off-label marketing if they are designed and carried out under the control of a manufacturer’s influence and bias. Neither the presentations nor the literature are truly independent or non-promotional industry-supported educational activities. Typical patterns of activity are:
- Absolute control of content and selection of presenters/materials.
- Titles of the presentation/literature almost never fairly and accurately represent the scope of the presentation/literature.
- Mailing lists for distribution of literature, or announcements for presentations are always generated by the sales/marketing department, not the “independent” CME company.
- If there is a presentation, the sales representatives are present, and have an active role in distributing literature.