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AMA PLANS TO PUBLISH "INDUSTRY-SPONSORED COMMUNICATIONS" THAT WILL INCLUDE SINGLE TOPIC EDUCATIONAL MEDICAL REPORTS ON STUDIES NOT ACCEPTED BY JAMA

Executive Summary

The American Medical Association does not yet have any confirmed sponsors for its new line of monograph reports. The medical association has begun introducing the concept of a line of single-topic educational medical reports that will be published by the AMA's publishing wing and sent out under the association's aegis. AMA says it will accept pharmaceutical manufacturers' sponsorship to print articles that failed the final cut at the Journal of the American Medical Association and other AMA publications, according to the association. An ad for the proposed new line of publications ran in the June 26 issue of JAMA. The JAMA ad for the new service reads: "Your key to educational publications of the highest quality. You'll soon be seeing selected industry-sponsored publications by the American Medical Association Publications, Department of Education Services." The ad continues: "As always, any materials published by the AMA have passed a rigorous selection and peer-review process. All are authored by physicians or known experts. All meet our high standards . . . and yours. Look for these AMA Education Services materials . . . your key to quality healthcare publications." The new publications would in some instances be articles submitted to JAMA and the AMA specialty journals that those journals did not have "space" to publish, according to July 16 statements made by the association about its plans. AMA says the articles would be quality research that had undergone regular peer-review for the journals. Transcripts of symposia and republished articles may also be included in the series. The reports would be paid for in part by grants from pharmaceutical manufacturers interested in the wider dissemination of particular articles. In addition, AMA plans to seek advertising for the reports. However, the association indicated that the special reports would not carry advertising for products discussed in a particular issue. The reports would complement AMA's attempt to build a seminar operation. The association recently ran a seminar sponsored by a grant from Allergan on dystonia. Searle similarly sponsored a hypertension seminar on June 5 through AMA. The entire project is still "deep in development," an AMA spokesman said July 18. "The whole concept is still being looked at," he stated. The association predicts it will be months before its plans are completed. Despite running the June 26 ad, AMA has not decided when the project would start, according to the representative, or what specific groups of physicians would receive the publications. Also, the association said it has not decided whether the publications would be free of charge. No specific topics or products have been selected yet, AMA said, and no companies have been signed up yet. The advertisement, however, provided details that suggest a more detailed stage of planning. The ad pictures medical articles embossed with the AMA seal and headed "Special Report." Titles on the illustrations, which presumably represent sample versions of the planned product, include: "Dyslipidemia," "Left Ventricular Hypertrophy," "Hypertension: Target Organ Damage," "Panic Disorder," "Intrabdominal Surgical Infection." Slides and audio cassettes are also depicted. AMA representatives met with FDA on July 16 to discuss its plans for the publications. The agency reportedly did not object to the products as described to them but reminded the association of its concerns over company-sponsored medical educational materials. FDA has indicated that there is an opening for disinterested, objective management of the distribution of medical treatment information.

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