Tag Archives: medical associations

COI policy change has medical associations talking

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

A policy intended to reduce conflicts of interest in continuing medical education will take effect at the American Heart Association’s annual Scientific Sessions in November: Pharmaceutical industry employees will not be allowed to make medical education presentations at the event.

John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the change comes as the result of  “a relatively new interpretation on a policy of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, the national body that accredits medical education courses.” Such presentations can be used to boost the marketing of new drugs, according to James Stein, a cardiologist and professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Clyde W. Yancy, president of the American Heart Association, explains the new policy.

Clyde W. Yancy, president of the American Heart Association, explains the new policy.

The policy came up at a meeting at the National Institutes of Health last week, where Keith Yamamoto, executive vice dean of the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, called it “bloodcurdling.”

Fauber quotes people on both sides of the issue, including a former editors of JAMA and NEJM, as well as critics of industry funding of medical education.

Clyde W. Yancy, M.D., president of the AHA, was at the NIH meeting and expressed “consternation” about the policy and was hoping to get support from others in the room to appeal the ACCME’s decision. He points out that the AHA’s event is the first major medical meeting at which these policies will be in place but that other organizations will have to deal with the changes to remain accredited by the ACCME.

Video of the meeting is online and the relevant proceedings start at about the 108 minute mark. It’s well worth watching to see the reactions in the room.

AHCJ seeks change in medical meeting policies

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

NOTE: A previous version of AHCJ’s news release said that eight medical groups have policies that ban photography and recording at their meetings. In fact, only four have outright bans. Other groups have varying levels of restrictions. Please read the updated version of the release.

The Association of Health Care Journalists has asked eight medical organizations to end their policies that bar journalists from recording or photographing the meetings where new scientific research is presented.

Such policies make it difficult for journalists to provide complete and accurate information to the public. Most medical societies do not bar recording and photography – but those that do include such prominent organizations as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Association for Cancer Research.

“At medical society meetings, speakers often present extensive methods and volumes of data at a rapid pace,” said letters to the medical groups from AHCJ. “It is not physically possible to write fast enough to get it all down.  It is easier for everyone, including your staff and presenting researchers, if writers can record and photograph what they need.”

The letters note the difficulties that these stringent policies create for all concerned. Writers have to chase down speakers after the fact, the press room staff has to connect speakers with reporters who need to clarify information, and speakers have to take time to repeat what they had already said.

Read the full press release.