MEZIS (Mein Essen zahl ich selbst – I pay for my own lunch) has long been calling for Continuous Medical Education (CME) programs to be free of conflict of interest. On this long journey MEZIS has been able to reach an important milestone: The Alliance for Action 2020 - Alliance for Independent Continuing Medical Education
By Christiane Fischer MD, MPH, PhD*
Founder and Medical Managing Director at MEZIS
Action Alliance “Training 2020”
An Alliance for Independent Continuing Medical Education
In 2018, MEZIS (Mein Essen zahl ich selbst – I pay for my own lunch) successfully launched another tool to achieve the goal of continuing medical education without any sponsoring by the pharmaceutical industry: The Alliance for Action 2020 – Alliance for Independent Continuing Medical Education. It complements MEZIS strategy to achieve change through committees and media.
What is the background?
Organizers of Continuous Medical Education (CME) Programs such as hospital departments and professional associations often welcome support of human and financial resources from the pharmaceutical industry. An implementation of CME-Programs without sponsorship seems unthinkable for many. However, is that really true?
At the same time, more and more CME-Programs are being organized independently and without any sponsoring by the pharmaceutical industry. Even conferences of large associations such as the German Society of General and Family Medicine are successfully carried out without pharmaceutical support- and teach the eternal skeptics of the better. This shows there are already some good alternatives. However, they are not well-known and overarching concepts and structures for independent training are still missing.
Independent organizers also have to compete in a market place highly distorted by exorbitant sponsorship sums from the pharmaceutical industry with organizers such as Omniamed, which used to receive up to 250,000 Euros from the pharmaceutical industry for one day. In August, the Medical Chamber Stuttgart denied Omniamed any CME certification for the first time. Omniamed consequently withdrew from Germany in December 2018, hopefully paving the way for independent organizers of CME events to overtake their sponsored counterparts.
The goal of the Action Alliance is to provide independent continuing medical training. Continuing medical training must take place independently of the interests of the industry and solely in the responsibility of hospitals, professional societies, professional associations and other organs of the medical self-government. This requires a rethinking by physicians and a change in the medical training culture.
The partners joining the Alliance commit to providing sufficiently high quality training without industry participation or financial support. In addition, in agreement with the founding members, there are criteria for content quality that are based on existing ones.
Who is already there?
We are already pleased to have the Drug Commission of the German Medical Association (AkdÄ), the German Society for General Medicine (DEGAM), the neurologist initiative “NeurologyFirst” as well as the two independent training organizations HD Med and Libermed as founding members.
Our aims until 2020
- Bundling of existing independent concepts and structures for CME-Programs (AkdÄ, DEGAM, NF, medical chambers, HD Med, Libermed).
- Development of a guideline for CME-Programs as well as financing concepts (meaningful and necessary amount of annual training, quality features, requirements, practical organization, calculations).
- The Allies provide guidance to their members in the organization and delivery of independent medical trainings.
- Creating structures and sharing structures for organizing independent events.
- Creating a common internet platform: https://cme-sponsorfrei.de/
- Establishment of a quality label “Partner in the Action Alliance for Further Education 2020”.
Dr. Christiane Fischer was born in 1967 in Emden and grew up in the black forrest in Germany. She studied medicine in Homburg/Saar and Heidelberg and is from her postgraduation Master of Public Health (MPH). From 1999 untill 2013 she worked as the executive director of the BUKO Pharma-Kampagne focussing the impact of patents on access to drugs in poor countries. In 2007 she founded MEZIS and was part of the board until 2013. Since then she works as the Medical Director. Since 2012 she is member of German Ethics Council.
*On the same topic on PEAH: