- According to Unite Here, a union which represents 270,000 hotel workers, payments from the pharma industry to physicians who take CME courses are out of control.
- In 2011, the industry spent $736 million on CME courses, which Unite Here asserts is too much, especially considering the rising prices of drugs, FiercePharma Marketing reports.
- The Accrediting Concil for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) is standing by its practices and has stated that only 11% of CME events receive funding from the pharmaceutical industry.
The official effort has been dubbed "Unite Here's 'No More Drug Money'" and is being driven in part by the increasing transparency of the industry, courtesy of the Sunshine Act and the resulting Open Payments Database. According to the latest report, drug companies and device manufacturers paid physicians and teaching hospitals roughly $6.5 billion in payments last year.
But why hotel workers? Most likely because most CME events are held in hotels, and hotel workers are therefore exposed to the industry and its events on a regular basis. While their point may have some kernels of truth to them, the reality for most physicians is that CME courses, which the ACCME says "supports public health initiatives to improve quality and safety," are required in order to keep their licenses.