Medicine and Industry
Drug companies and medical device manufacturers invest tens of billions of dollars annually to develop new therapies for many debilitating diseases that affect millions of people. Many of these treatments are expensive, however, and those who need them most often cannot afford them. Moreover, industry decisions on clinical research priorities can be significantly influenced by the potential market for a given treatment. The pharmaceutical industry spends billions of dollars each year to fund continuing medical education (CME) programs for physicians. Supporters of industry-sponsored CME contend that without the financial commitment from industry some physicians would not be educated about the latest clinical treatments and procedures. Critics of industry-supported CME programs argue they are simply a means for marketing products to physicians and can lead to over prescribing of costly, and not necessarily more effective, treatments.