The Physician Payment Sunshine Act is written into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, requiring industry to report to HHS all payments and transfers of value to physicians and other health-care providers on an annual basis. If passed, the Act will require disclosure of both direct payments, such as speaking and consulting fees, and indirect payments, such as travel, lodging, and participation in CME programs — even if the program is administered by a third-party organiza- tion, such as a medicalsociety. The gathering and reporting of the data, therefore, will fall to CME providers.
The American Medical Association’s Council on Judi- cial and Ethical Affairs releases a report stating that indus- try funding of CME should be avoided altogether, if possible.
GlaxoSmithKline agrees to pay $3 billion to the U.S. Jus- tice Department for settlement of ongoing criminal and civil investigations into the company’s sales and marketing prac- tices, including funding of CME activities.
appealing to funders. “Collaboration with academic institutions is likely to curry favor with pharmaceutical companies,” she said, “because it broadens the reach of the educational activity and those organizations are favorably perceived by the public.” But collaboration isn’t a cure-all, Johnson cautioned, and
should be approached judiciously. “It’s a time-consuming process,” she said. “It’s not a wave of a magic wand and everybody comes together and everybody agrees to what we’re going to get out of it.”
The Shifting Paradigm In addition to pursuing collaborations, Johnson and most other planners we interviewed are exploring how to boost other sources of revenue, including industry advertising and sponsorship (which is on the rise), fees, governmental grants and non-traditional sources of funding, such as grants from third-party payers. Planners are also re-examining CME set- tings, with an eye on both funders and future learners. The Endocrine Society, for example, is looking at more regional education and e-learning opportunities. “I think there will still be a role for the face-to-face interactions,” Johnson
said, “but I am very cognizant that the generation coming into the field today has learned in a completely different manner.” In fact, the days of the “anonymous learner” are gone, Doyle-Scharff said, referring to the large annual conferences
“Everyone has to roll up their sleeves and think about who the learner is.”
and congresses that have been a stronghold of CME pro- gramming.With Pfizer’s restructuring and new two-track system, only 10 percent of its CME grants would go toward those types of meetings. Shifting funding away from those events will enhance
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the impact of Pfizer’s dollars, Doyle-Scharff said, because while there will always be value in face-to-face interaction at a large, annual meeting, that’s not the best setting for quality education. And it’s not where funders are going to be spending their dollars. “I grew upin CME and I believe in the power of education, but you have to recognize that it’s got to be more than education for education’s sake,” she said. “Everyone has to roll uptheir sleeves and think about who the learner is and what their true needs are. You can’t rely on the perceived need of the learners anymore; that’s not going to cut it.” Indeed, CME providers that are too com-
The Sunshine Act Drug and medical-device companies must begin recording all transfers of value to physicians and other providers for 2013 reporting.
placent in today’s evolving marketplace will soon find themselves left behind, Johnson said. “The entire CME paradigm is shifting,” she said. “I think we’re all going to have to be collaborative and creative, and we’re going to have to rethink the type of educa- tion we’re delivering.”
Contributing Editor Molly Brennan is a freelance writer and editor based in Highland Park, Ill.