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IEG Responds To JAMA Article On Medical Industry/Association Relationships

April 02, 2009:

For More Information Contact:
Diane Knoepke, IEG, LLC, Tel: 312/944-1727, ext. 272

Chicago, Ill. — IEG, LLC—the leading source of sponsorship consulting, valuation, training, research and information—today released a statement in response to an article published April 1 in the Journal of the American Medical Association addressing the relationship between professional medical associations and pharmaceutical, medical equipment and other members of industry.

IEG has been at the forefront of structuring partnerships between medical societies and corporations to benefit all parties concerned, including physicians and their patients, while ensuring that such relationships adhere to strict ethical standards and maintain full transparency.

The statement is below:

IEG to Professional Medical Associations: You Can—and Must—Do Better
A group of leading physicians proposed in this month’s JAMA that professional medical associations (PMAs) eliminate virtually all funding from industry sources. IEG believes this heavy-handed approach would rob PMAs of valuable opportunities to serve their members and improve patient care.

IEG agrees with the authors’ assertion that PMA/industry relationships can leave much to be desired, often through a lack of purpose and occasionally through a lack of propriety. Many PMAs have mistakenly equated filling space with fulfilling a need. A branded lanyard or hotel keycard does not represent a strong partnership.

However, IEG strongly disagrees with the authors’ implication that industry marketing and philanthropic relationships are gateways to impropriety. The proposal published in JAMA relies on a flawed assumption—that the ethical concerns around individual physician gifts necessarily apply to PMAs’ relationships with industry. This assumption is not supported by the cited research and ignores the many tangible benefits of meaningful interaction between PMAs and industry. IEG contends that more informed and transparent engagement—not less—will help allay concerns over perceived conflicts and produce powerful outcomes that realize the potential of such partnerships.

The authors’ proposal is akin to separating boys and girls on a school bus to prevent teen pregnancy. Damning the many to discourage the few, it fails to address the complex issues underlying their concerns. Indeed, this approach could just as easily send the true offenders further into the shadows to find ways to game the system. All the while, those building the right kinds of relationships will be stifled from doing meaningful work, thereby hurting the patient population we all wish to serve.

The JAMA authors call their proposal of avoidance “rigorous.” IEG proposes that PMAs and their industry partners hold themselves to a far higher standard: Acknowledge the complexity of these relationships and work on aligning them with the parties’ shared responsibilities to each other and to society. This rigor will ultimately reap far greater rewards for all those involved—most importantly, the patient.

IEG details its recommendations in the white paper “Focusing on Responsibility: Reframing the Healthcare Industry’s Marketing Relationships,” available online in IEG’s Sponsorship Resource Center.

About IEG, LLC
IEG is the world’s leading provider of independent consulting, valuation, training, research and analysis on sponsorship. Founded in 1981, IEG provides corporations and properties with the strategies and tools to harness the sales and marketing power of sports, arts, entertainment and cause marketing.

IEG offers services that include sponsorship consulting, competitive intelligence and valuation. IEG also publishes IEG Sponsorship Report, the international biweekly newsletter on sponsorship; the IEG Sponsorship Sourcebook, the definitive guide to sponsors, properties and agencies; and other industry publications and sources.

IEG also is the leader in sponsorship training. Its internationally renowned Sponsorship Conference, now in its 27th year, takes place in Chicago each March. Through its conferences, seminars and webinars, IEG has trained more than 45,000 sponsorship executives worldwide.

For more information about IEG and the sponsorship industry, please visit or call 800/834-4850 (outside the U.S. and Canada, 312/944-1727).