Think you can't afford to drop pharmaceutical company funding for continuing medical education? Perhaps executives at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center had the same fears, but if so, they got over it. Sloan-Kettering, which once relied on the pharmas for about one-quarter of its educational funding, made a decision early last year to stop accepting such support.Â
To cover the loss, it made cuts large and small, including holding more meetings on campus (as opposed to renting space), relying on its own speakers (rather than paying airfare and hotel costs for outsiders), and raising registration fees 10 percent to 20 percent for CME attendees from outside the institution. Sloan-Kettering also slashed marketing costs for CME, cutting back on direct mail and journal ads substantially.
Sure, not everyone has the prestige, inside funding, and 350-seat auditorium the cancer hospital has, but hey, it's still food for thought. With pressure rising to push out pharma influence, every industry dollar is at risk, so it's good to be reminded that it's possible to do without.
To learn more about Sloan-Kettering's strategies:
- read this blog item from The Wall Street Journal
Senate investigates pharma influence on CME. Report
Psychiatrists getting the largest pharma gifts. Report
Doctors weigh in on pros and cons of accepting drug/device freebies. Letters
Congress debates pharma gift disclosure. Report