Journal of General Practice

ISSN: 2329-9126

Open Access

General Practitioners’ willingness to Pay for Continuing Medical Education in a Fee-for-service Universal Coverage Health Care System


Shahzia Lambat Emery, Reto Auer, Nicolas Senn, Isabella Locatelli1 and Jacques Cornuz

Background: Sponsoring of medical meetings by life science companies has led to reduced participation fees for physicians but questions potential drawbacks. Ongoing discussions are proposing to ban such sponsoring which may increase participation fees. Objectives: To evaluate factors associated with general practitioners’ willingness to pay for medical meetings, their support of a binding legislation prohibiting sponsoring and their opinion on alternative financing options. Methods: An anonymous web-based questionnaire was sent to 447 general practitioners’ of one state in Switzerland, identified through their affiliation to a medical association. Results: Of the 115 physicians answering, 48% were willing to pay more than what they currently pay for medical meetings and 79% disagreed that sponsoring introduced a bias in their own prescription practices. In univariate analyses, factors most associated with physician’s willingness to pay were perception of a bias in peers prescription practices (OR=6.67; 95% CI: 1.60-27.74), group practice (OR=3.01; 95% CI: 0.94-9.65) and having <4 meetings with sales representatives per month (OR=2.39; 95% CI: 0.91-6.33). 78% did not support the introduction of a binding legislation and 56% were in favor of creating a general fund set up by life science companies and centrally administered by an independent body as an alternative financing option. Conclusions: Our results suggest that almost half of physicians surveyed were willing to pay more than what they currently pay for medical meetings and that an independent body that would centrally administer a general fund set up by life science companies might be better received by general practitioners’ than a legislation banning the sponsoring of medical meetings by life science companies.


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