In offering this ‘No Holds Barred’ perspective in the BMJ, Dr Margaret McCartney concludes: “Doctors should seek independent education. In fact, we should all do so – including MPs, guideline committees, patients and the public”
In the same edition of the BMJ this letter was published by Alastair Matheson, an independent consultant who declared that “between 1994 and 2012 the majority of my income came from consultancy and writing services provided to pharmaceutical corporations, either directly or via marketing agencies”:
Alastair Matheson stated his view that “the only acceptable form of marketing should be the provision of information that directly informs evidence based clinical reasoning. Anything else brings extraneous matters to bear on a process that should be considered sacrosanct.”
He went on to say: “Many marketing practices commit this violation. The use of “key opinion leaders” applies prestige to clinical reasoning. The use of sales reps leverages personal rapport. The use of gifts and meals plays on reciprocation. The proffering of research, consulting, speaking, or travel opportunities appeals to doctors’ self interest. Samples and seeding trials work through habituation. All these marketing practices are unethical because they are designed to bring non-clinical considerations to bear on clinical reasoning.”
This week I received the following in my NHS mail even though I have been a longstanding campaigner that marketing has to be completely removed from continuing medical education.
The invitation was from SUNOVION to attend a sponsored “educational” event to promote a new antipsychotic called Lurasidone (Latuda):
The “Keynote” speaker is an academic from Germany so any voluntary declarations of competing financial interests could not be included in “Disclosure UK”. Not all the speakers have been confirmed but I note there will be two separate 45 minute talks titled “Mental Health in Scotland” and “Early Intervention in Psychosis: Extending the Paradigm”: