Survey of practices around pharmaceutical company funding for continuing professional development among medical oncologists and trainees in Australia

Yeh Chen Lee, René Kroon, Bogda Koczwara, Ian Haines, Kay Francis, Michael Millward, Richard Kefford, Ian Olver, Linda Mileshkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The completion of continuing professional development (CPD) is mandatory for medical oncologists and trainees (MO&T). Pharmaceutical companies may fund some CPD activities, but there is increasing debate about the potential for conflicts of interest (COI). Aim: To assess current practices around funding to attend CPD activities. Methods: An electronic survey was distributed to Australian MO&T. The survey asked questions about current practices, institutional policies and perceptions about attending CPD funded by pharmaceutical companies. The design looked at comparing responses between MO&T as well as their understanding of and training around institutional and ethical process. Results: A total of 157 of 653 (24%) responses was received, the majority from MO (76%). Most CPD activities attended by MO&T were self-funded (53%), followed by funding from institutions (19%), pharmaceutical companies (16%) and salary award (16%). Most institutions allowed MO&T to receive CPD funding from professional organisations (104/157, 66%) or pharmaceutical companies (90/157, 57%). A minority of respondents (13/157, 8%) reported that the process to use pharmaceutical funds had been considered by an ethics committee. Although 103/157 (66%) had received pharmaceutical funding for CPD, most (109/157, 69%) reported never receiving training about potential COI. The lack of education was more noticeable among trainees (odds ratio (OR) 8.61, P = 0.02). MO&T acknowledged the potential bias towards a pharmaceutical product (P = 0.05) but believed there was adequate separation between themselves and pharmaceutical companies (P < 0.01). Conclusion: Majority of CPD attended by MO&T is self-funded. There is lack of clarity in institutional policies regarding external funding support for CPD activities. Formal education about potential COI is lacking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)888-893
Number of pages6
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • continuing medical industry
  • continuing professional development
  • drug industry
  • medical oncologist
  • pharmaceutical funding support

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