November 13th, 2011

An Unexpected Preconference Overload

Several Cardiology Fellows who are attending AHA.11 this week are blogging together on CardioExchange.  The Fellows include Revathi Balakrishnan, Eiman Jahangir, John Ryan (moderator), and Amit Shah. Read the previous post here. Check back often to learn about the biggest buzz in Orlando.

One thing that I have noticed in the build-up to the AHA is the amount of junk mail I have received. In an era where we assign and discuss conflict of interest like it is part of our names, I am surprised and exhausted by the mailings, emails, and more mailings. I have probably received 50 pages of advertisements at home, and I knew that at the conference there would be even more advertisements. When I arrived at my hotel, even the room key card was an advertisement — this time for Xarelto tablets.

Now I have no issues with sponsorship for conferences. In fact, many of these meetings would not be feasible without the significant resources of private drug and device companies. I also have no issues regarding learning about the latest drugs and devices directly from the companies involved. I think that some level of advertisement has to occur for advancement and use of these products. However, when I am inundated by a tremendous amount of advertisement even before the conference, I stop reading both emails and mailings. This can lead to missing important information such as registrations or schedules of events. I am not sure what a good solution would be. Perhaps the AHA can hold off on advertising until we arrive at the conference center. That way, important information about the conference will not get lost in a large amount of preconference junk mail.

Were you similarly overwhelmed by the amount of advertising you received, even before the conference? What solutions might you have?

3 Responses to “An Unexpected Preconference Overload”

  1. Completely agree — and very difficult to regulate. I wonder how the AHA would be different if no corporate sponsorship was done at all? How much would the fees go up, and what would it do to the attendance? What about the science?

  2. Rafael Perez-Mera Perez-Mera, MD says:

    I do agree that a great deal is corporate sponsorship, all for money.

  3. Eiman Jahangir, MD says:

    Thanks for both of the comments. The corporate sponsorship is an issue and actually I believe has decreased over the years. The question I pose is, are we better served with direct to consumer advertising or the old method of physician advertising? In my opinion, with direct to patient advertising both physicians and patients are influenced (we as physicians see the ads too). Is this worse then just the physician being influenced by a rep?