September 26, 2016
Distortive funding of continuing education
In many countries healthcare professionals are required to complete accredited continuing education. However, by funding continuing professional education companies can use this as an opportunity to market their products. By developing the curriculum and choosing speakers the harm of products can be downplayed, the benefits amplified and off-label uses encouraged. This is of particular concern if conflicts of interest are not declared and funding sources are not made explicit.
As many governments subsidise a small proportion of continuing education there are risks. If training opportunities are limited, supplier-funded continuing education may be the only form of continued training available for some healthcare providers. Care must be taken to ensure that the funding sources do not compromise the objectivity of the information, thereby impacting on patient care.