Thursday, June 14, 2007

Advertising as Education: Carlat Hits Home Run

Daniel Carlat is the chief of the Carlat Report, a newsletter which provides CME credits for physicians and is (gasp) sometimes critical of the drug industry and its marketing practices.

Carlat has an op-ed in the New York Times where he presents several examples of how drug companies, in the name of education, have misled physicians. I'd like to summarize what he wrote, but he really said it best. Please check it out. It covers a lot of important material in relatively few words. He also has a simple solution -- any CME paid for by drug companies should not count for educational credit for physicians. I couldn't agree more!

As y'all know, I am highly critical of current CME practices, which allow physicians to maintain their medical licenses based upon their soaking up sugarcoated drug company advertising which masquerades as education. For examples, please read an earlier post on a pro-Geodon piece and a puff piece pushing transcranial magnetic stimulation for depression. I am very pleased that the Times ran Carlat's piece.

John Mack noted that the Drug Wonks blog (predictably) came to the rescue of Big Pharma by calling Carlat's piece "hysterical." Of course, Robert Goldberg (the Drug Wonks author in question) provided no evidence -- he also said
Oh, and if I were Carlat, I would drop the characterization "Unbiased" from the description of his expensive newsletter. He is as biased as anyone. Anyone who calls his colleagues money launderers is biased.
Oh gee, we're all biased, so who knows what's right? It's all so relativistic. Please. I think that many pharma bloggers (including myself), have marshaled sufficient evidence to indicate that Big Pharma has often placed marketing well ahead of patient benefit. For documentation, um, start reading a bunch of posts on this and similar sites. Yes, we're all biased to one extent or another -- that's why we should stick to facts rather than label industry critics as "hysterical" or worse. And the facts indicate that CME needs reform. Call me hysterical if you want.

Hat Tip: Furious Seasons

No comments: