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GSK limits funding for CME

GSK has announced new standards for funding CME for healthcare professionals to ensure improved patient health

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced new standards for funding accredited, continuing medical education (CME) for healthcare professionals to ensure the programmes result in improved patient health.

The new approach will commence in the US, with intentions to follow through globally "as soon as is practically possible", a spokesperson has confirmed.

Starting in 2010, GSK will fund only independent medical education programmes that are clearly designed to close gaps in patient care, and demonstrate support for the optimal performance of healthcare professionals.

GSK is immediately ceasing funding to CME programmes provided by commercial medical education and communication companies and is also banning corporate political contributions. By the end of 2009 it will start disclosing all payments it makes to doctors.

GSK is inviting grant applications from approximately 20 CME providers, which will be restricted to academic medical centres and their affiliates, plus select national-level professional medical associations. All providers must be directly accredited by a recognised accrediting body.

Funding levels for each grant will depend on the quality, scope and complexity in closing the clinical gap identified by the provider. All proposals must have an objective, well-documented assessment of the need for such a programme, clear learning objectives and plans to assess the impact of the educational programme on healthcare professional competence, performance and improved patient health.

Dierdre Connelly, GSK's president North America pharmaceuticals said: "GSK will not support as many medical education programmes, but we will continue funding those with the greatest potential to improve patient health.

"CME offers healthcare professionals important information on disease prevention, diagnosis and management. Independent and balanced information on the latest discoveries about disease and treatment options helps [them] make higher quality decisions and achieve better patient health outcomes."

The announcement is the latest in a string of recent moves by pharmaceutical companies to combat growing public criticism that they have too much influence over the medical community.

"This is one more step in our efforts to be more transparent in the way we operate our business and interact with healthcare providers," Connelly added.

22nd September 2009

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