Last week we wrote a commentary on a Boston Globe article that covered the start up of a continuing medical education publishing company that while billing itself as “independent,” is being run by former consultants and staff members of M/C Communications (PriMed). We found it particularly interesting that the founders of this company, known as Lighthouse, had made millions of dollars working with industry previously but suddenly reconsidered. Today the Globe posted the response to the article by M/C Holding President and CEO Frank Britt titled “Proud of the Mission of Medical Education.”
Mr. Britt explained that the Globe’s recent story about the new company planning to provide CME, contained “assertions about the educational activities M/C Communications provide to physicians that do not square with reality.” He further recognized that the article’s “assertions do not fairly represent the ways in which M/C Communications help meet the needs of physicians.”
Specifically, the article failed to acknowledge the “rigorous requirements established by accrediting organizations, which establish strong and transparent safeguards to protect participants in CME from industry influence.” Mr. Britt also pointed to “several peer-reviewed studies published over the past two years, in which no evidence has emerged that industry support for accredited, certified CME results in a biased educational experience (Cleveland Clinic; Medscape, and UCSF). In fact, the evidence suggests the opposite, he said.
Mr. Britt noted further that the “federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality confirmed the positive effects of the current system of CME on physician knowledge, attitudes, skills, behaviors, and most important, improved clinical outcomes for patients.” He then asserted that “M/C, owner of the Pri-Med brand of courses that the Globe cited, and the many organizations and faculty the company collaborates with are aligned with this mission, as are those health care professionals whom the company helps to educate.”
He acknowledged that the success of M/C over the last three years is evident by the fact that “45 percent of US primary care physicians have participated in a Pri-Med offering.” In addition, he explained that physicians “do so year after year because it meets their clinical and education needs with full and complete disclosure of funding for them to discern and evaluate.” As a result, Mr. Britt concluded his comment by telling readers that:
“We at M/C, together with our academic partners and collaborators, are proud to advance innovations in clinical education for health care providers, and proud of the quality of care they deliver to patients. It is regrettable that this reality was not reflected in the Globe’s article.”