National Review Investigates Macy Foundation and IOM
In the National Review, conservative journalist Mary Claire Kendall questions the influence that the private Josiah Macy, Jr, Foundation has on the nonprofit Institute of Medicine (IOM). At stake, evidently, is the Foundation’s interest in removing all sources of commercial funding for physicians’ continuing medical education (CME)—funding which is argued (without supporting evidence) to adversely influence physician practice and, consequently, patient outcomes.
Kendall highlights the possibility that the Foundation itself, a private philanthropy established by the descendant of merchant seamen, is unduly influencing the IOM by funding various IOM committees that are concerned with medical education. The possibility that the Foundation is buying off the IOM to push its own predetermined, but unfounded, idea that commercial support of CME is bad is implicit in the Foundation’s support of the IOM’s Conflict of Interest Committee ($75,000) and the IOM’s upcoming ad-hoc Committee on Planning a Continuing Health Care Professional Education Institute ($428,177). The ad-hoc committee, Kendall notes, will include representatives from the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Institute of Health Policy—both of which have received a cumulative $738,000 from the Macy Foundation.
“What is damning is that they [the Macy Foundation] are dedicated to pushing private industry out of CME in the name of an entirely self-serving definition of ‘bias’ that reaches predetermined conclusions,” Kendall writes. What is also damning and, moreover, ironic is the fact that the IOM has failed to provide detailed evidence of its funding sources, despite a united call for transparency in CME to uncover possible conflicts of interest.