October 31, 2006
UC Davis ponders gift limits, may consider pooled CME fund
The University of California Davis Health System is set to vote on strict reforms that could bring curbs to industry gifting, while another proposal to only accept commercial education funding in a central pool is being debated. The Sacramento Bee is reporting that the medical center’s executive committee will decide on three recommendations: a ban on all gifts, including payments from industry for participating in online medical education programs; replacement of the current system of drug sampling with a voucher arrangement; and exclusion of those staff with ties to industry from serving on drug or device buying committees. Among four other recommendations that have yet to reach the executive committee is one that would have drug companies contribute CME support to a central repository overseen by the UC Davis medical center, according to the Bee. That would replace the usual way of designating the general clinical condition to which the CME support will go, echoing a proposal suggested by authors this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association in an article on how to address commercial bias they said pervades medicine. At press time, UC Davis had not returned a call from MM&M seeking comment. Before being voted on, the pooled funding recommendation must make it past the health system’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, which oversees the purchase of drugs and devices. Differentiating between marketing and legitimate physician education can be difficult, the chairman of the committee, Dr. Tim Albertson, told the Bee. “What we are trying to do is bring light to the subject,” he said. Another health system in the region, Kaiser Permanente, eliminated all industry CME funding two years ago. Stanford Hospitals and Clinics this year decided to keep accepting drug company support for medical education but took the unusual step of extending ACCME guidelines for commercial support even to non-accredited events.