Big Pharma Marketers are Laughing at Us

You know that docs have to participate in continuing medical education (CME). They are required to do this to maintain their license to practice.

I hope you know that this continuing medical education is underwritten heavily by pharmaceutical manufacturers.

I also hope you know these educational programs are held in Vail, South Beach, Napa Valley, and any other exotic location you can think of in the U.S.

Last year, big pharma spent from $1,2000,000,000 to $1,400,000,000.

But they are worried they may not be able to spend billions anymore to help “educate” physicians.

It seems that physicians are getting more of their training online.  Imagine that! They can take a couple hours in their office and learn, rather than taking a long weekend at an uber resort.

Online CME Taking Off!
Meanwhile, the number of physicians participating in online CME “events” has increased dramatically, especially in 2006 (see figure at left).

Approximately one quarter of physician participants in CME activities occur via the Internet. However, only about 5% of the total hours of instruction are delivered via the Internet.

This is bad news for the pharmaceutical industry. How can this be bad?

the more physicians that get CME credits online, the less likely they are to attend live events where collateral marketing can easily occur.

“Collateral marketing” is code for FREE GIFTS. I’m not talking about note pads or pens. Docs can take home $800 in free gifts.  That’s in addition to free lodging, ski lift tickets, luxury suites, fine wine, and gourmet meals.

The pharma marketers are laughing at us for being such suckers.

It could cost so little that physicians may actually be enticed to pay for it themselves rather than accept pharma’s charity and possible influence over the content! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! If you think that will happen, please see

They view their attempt to get docs to prescribe their drugs as “charity” and cocky that they can continue to influence content (read slant the education in their favor.)

The movie Sicko is now available to rent in your local video store. Rent it.

It’s time for pharma marketing in the disguise of “education” to go away.

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Big Pharma Marketers are Laughing at Us — 6 Comments

  1. I just posted a positive review of your site on Between the Blogs. I decided to click on your site again and I see you’ve written a new post about Big Pharma Marketers. On my other site, Conversations Over Dinner, this evening I posted that I’m amazed at how quickly the prescription pad makes its appearance and that I’m going to rethink my prescription meds. Kudos to you for putting this issue front and center.

  2. The big pharma companies aren’t the only ones who do this. Vendors constantly entice “people of influence” with free gifts/money to promote or purchase their products. Talk to any Purchasing Manager of any business or government entity; talk to Senators & Congressman; talk to any blogger with AdSense. Help companies influence people to buy their products and you get a kickback. It’s nothing new.

  3. It is new to Pharma. The gummit loosened regulation to allow direct to consumer advertising of prescription drugs.
    Businesses have cracked down on accepting gifts from vendors – this is an area Wal-mart did right. Employees there can accept nada, not even a coffee cup.
    Pharma should not be in the business of influencing the prescribing of drubs.
    BTW: I sell space on my blog to Google and they pay me to reach influential people like you.

  4. I don’t cave in to advertising hype or influence peddaling, but then again I take no drugs and I don’t click on AdSense. Those tactics apparently work for the majority of people or these companies wouldn’t be wasting their time and money on kickbacks. I don’t have a problem with companies doing it; we just need more informed, pro-active consumers to counter-balance it.

  5. Obviously you didn’t read my post carefully. Try and pay closer attention Shelley. 🙂
    When it comes to pushing drugs, manufacturers should not be allowed to influence the only outlet than can fulfill the need – the docs. The doc should make the decision based on patient need, not who paid for his last vacation.
    Oh, go ahead, click an ad, it won’t hurt, c’mon, do it, you know you want to.