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June 16, 2009

AMA CEJA 2009: Referred Back to CEJA by House of Delegates

The AMA House of Delegates on Monday referred the Council for Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA Report 1-A-09) Financial Relationships with Industry in Continuing Medical Education back to the committee for further revisions. 

The discussions were clear on what needs to be done to get the report passed.  With some relatively easy revisions (dropping ethically preferable and ethically permissible, and ambiguous terms such as “overly reliant” and “modest financial interest”) the report probably would have been acceptable to the House of Delegates.  

Many are uncomfortable with definitions of levels of ethics that CEJA had proposed.    

AMA CEJA and the Council on Medical Education did a good job this past February in bringing stakeholders together and receive input on the report. 

Dr. Regina Benjamin, Chairman of CEJA and Dr. Claudette Dalton, Chairman of the Council on Medical Education deserve many thanks for their tireless efforts to design reports that attempted to be fair and balanced.

Unfortunately because of last year’s draconian report there is still a level of mistrust towards CEJA on this issue by members of the house of delegates.   

With all the changes that have happened in the last few years to ensure fair balance and resolution of conflicts of interest in CME and further changes in the works, perhaps CEJA should re-consider if commercial support of CME is in fact an ethical issue and refocus their efforts on reports that address physician ethics as opposed to where the funding for continuing education comes from. 

In the near future CME funding will come from many more diverse sources including the government.  To say that one source of CME funding is more ethical than another is perhaps a decision better left to the physicians own judgment.

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