A recent survey conducted by Pri-Med looked at how Clinicians who attend the Pri-Med Access events exhibit varying degrees of accessibility to industry. The survey, which was conducted with over 1,110 physicians, mainly in primary care, broke participants into three categories:
Do not participate/do participate in dinner programs
Personally choose to not see/see pharmaceutical reps in their office
Work in practices that restrict/do not restrict in-office industry rep visits
After grouping the participants into these groups, Pri-Med then used these factors to assign all clinicians a score along a continuum – and grouped them based on their industry accessibility. Using this “industry accessibility index,” Pri-Med broke it down into five categories:
- No See: The physician does not participate in dinner programs; personally chooses not to see industry representatives in the office; and works in a practice that restricts industry representatives.
- Restricted: the clinician predominantly limits or restricts interaction with industry
- Conditionally accessible: the clinician has some limits or restrictions to interactions
- Fully accessible: the physician participates in dinner programs; personally chooses to see industry representatives in the office; and works in a practice that does not restrict industry representative visits.
Consequently, the survey found that although clinicians placed restrictions on their industry interaction, 71% in the ‘No See’ category interacted with industry either during an industry presentation or with an industry representative while at a Pri-Med Access Event. And on average, those in the “No See” category interacted with an industry representative in the Product Forum for approximately five minutes.
Another important finding from the survey showed that “40% of ‘No See’ clinicians will incorporate the information presented by industry as a result of attending a theater presentation into their decisions. With respect to the other three categories, 54% of fully accessible clinicians, 56% of conditionally accessible physicians, and 44% of restricted physicians will incorporate the information presented by industry into their decisions.
With respect to industry representative provided information, it was notable that nearly 20% of ‘No See’ clinicians will incorporate this information into their decisions after visiting the product forum. Similarly, 47% of fully accessible clinicians, 38% of conditionally accessible clinicians, and 45% of restricted clinicians will use rep-provided information into their decisions as well.
Ultimately, what this data shows is that despite their inclination to ‘not see’ industry representatives or attend industry sponsored events, clinicians who characterize themselves as ‘No See’ still value the information industry provides. It is clear from this data that commercially supported programs, forums, and theater productions are crucial to continuing medical education (CME) events and programs.
Accordingly, for those critics who believe that industry support has no place in CME, we would ask them to explain where 40% of the ‘No See’ clinicians will get their information from to incorporate into their clinical practice? More importantly, where will the large number of participants who are fully accessible and conditionally accessible going to get data from industry if we prohibit or restrict industry sponsorship?
While we are unsure whether Pri-Med asked about the value of this information to clinicians, one could easily argue that if 40% of clinicians are using it in their practice, the data is extremely valuable, especially considering otherwise, those ‘No See-rs’ would never spend five minutes talking to members of industry they usually never talk to.
Commercial support is valuable to CME and to clinicians, as demonstrated by this Pri-Med survey, and providers must continue to collaborate with industry to give physicians access to these events to continue this positive trend of using industry provided information and applying it to clinical care and decisions.