May 01,2007

Baucus, Grassley Continue Work for Independence of Continuing Medical Education

WASHINGTON — Sens. Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley are continuing their effort to diminish the influence of drug companies on medical education programs.

In a letter sent to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, the senators urged greater oversight by the council to better ensure that the content of continuing education programs is independent from the business interests of the drug companies who fund the programs. Their letter follows an extensive report issued by the senators last week.

The Finance Committee report was two years in the making and addresses the pharmaceutical industry’s use of educational grant funding to promote the use of their drugs, including unapproved uses of some medicines. Earlier today, Eli Lilly and Company announced that it will begin posting online all educational grant funding that it provides. Lilly is the first pharmaceutical company to disclose its grants to medical societies, academic centers, patient groups, commercial continuing medical education providers, and non-profit institutions in the United States. Baucus and Grassley said they hoped that other drug companies would take similar action.

Baucus is Chairman and Grassley is Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance.
The text of their April 25, 2007 letter to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education is below, along with the text of news releases describing the April 23, 2007 Finance Committee report on medical education grants and the initial Grassley-Baucus June 10, 2005 letter of inquiry to drug makers which ultimately resulted in the Finance Committee report.