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Dec 31 2008

Unbiased info on drug marketing practices: FSMB Web portal gives prescribers easy access to new CME

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A new Web-based tool provides U.S. physicians with access to free, accredited CME courses about pharmaceutical industry marketing techniques and their effect on prescribing practices. Located at www.fsmb.org/re/open/modules.html, the website is part of the Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program, which provides prescribers tools for accessing unbiased sources of information about drugs.

For example, two modules developed by the Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) discuss requirements regarding new drug approvals and how generic drugs are tested and approved.

“We want to educate doctors about the fact that generic drugs are held to exactly the same standard as different batches of branded drugs,” said Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D., associate professor of Physiology and Biophysics at GUMC.

Although pharmaceutical sales representatives may misinform doctors that generic drugs may contain 20 percent less drug than brand-name medications, said Dr. Fugh-Berman, different batches of drugs may differ slightly in potency, but allowable variability never approaches 20 percent.

“Doctors want to take the best care of their patients, but misinformation from drug reps can interfere with good medicine,” said Dr. Fugh-Berman. “We want to prevent doctors from increasing the dose of generics to compensate for their supposedly weaker effect, a practice that increases the risk of adverse medication effects.”

CME courses on the portal are accredited and available free of charge to all U.S. prescribers. Courses currently available include:
  • Drug Approval in the U.S.: How Drugs Get to Market

  • Generic Drugs: Prescribing Sensibly

  • What’s Hype? What’s Right? Assessing New Information from Pharm Reps to the Latest Journals

  • Why and how are drugs approved?

  • There’s no such thing as a free lunch ... or dinner

  • A Clinician’s Guide to Critical Appraisal of Clinical Trials

  • Pharmaceutical Marketing: Its Goal is to Influence Your Prescribing Practices

  • Principles of Rational Prescribing


The Federation of State Medical Boards Research and Education Foundation developed and implemented the website to disseminate educational courses developed by grant recipients. These include the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado, Georgetown University Medical Center, the Lovelace Clinic Foundation, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Institute of Health Professions, the Meyers Primary Care Institute, Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine and Pharmacy, the University of California, San Francisco, and Wake Forest University Health Sciences.


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