A page-one story in The Wall Street Journal last month underscores the need for continued industry vigilance in the area of CME grant compliance.

GlaxoSmithKline, the article asserts, funded lectures and articles by outside doctors who favored universal genital herpes screening and treating of pregnant women. Federal health agencies are against universal screening for neonatal herpes, as is the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Rich Tischler, PhD, a former accreditation director for ACCME, questions whether there is a need for this activity.

“The primary motivation of any CME activity is how does it help physicians treat their patients,” he said. “If there is an ancillary objective in improving the bottom line of the grantor, that’s fine. But that can’t be the primary objective.”

GSK’s Valtrex is not approved to prevent neonatal herpes in pregnant women.

“CME is the forum for off-label discussion, as long as the discussion is not controlled by the grantor,” Tischler said. A GSK spokeswoman told MM&M “the company does not control the content…or selection of speakers for these programs.”

She added that GSK recognizes there is a debate about screening and treatment of pregnant women for neonatal herpes but, “a decision on whether to test a patient or treat a patient is up to the judgment of the healthcare professional.”