ACCME Calls for Comments on Proposals Related to the Commercial Support for CME

April 26, 2009

By Carmelina G. Allis

In June 2008, we reported that the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (“ACCME”) had issued for comment a proposed restrictive paradigm under which commercial support for continuing medical education (“CME”) would be permissible if certain conditions were met.  In an interest to continue those earlier efforts to find alternatives to a complete ban on commercial funding, ACCME is now requesting comments on two proposals that create two new designations and review processes for providers of CME programs – the “Commercial Support-Free™ Accredited CME” and the “Promotional Teacher and Author-Free™ Accredited CME” – and one proposal that creates an independent CME funding entity.

The Commercial Support-Free™ Accredited CME would be a new designation and review process for providers that wish to identify their CME programs as those that do “not utilize funds from commercial interests that have been donated to support continuing medical education.”  ACCME proposes that in order to meet the Commercial Support-Free™ Accredited CME designation, no CME activity or part of the program can receive commercial support.  The CME program also cannot underwrite the costs with funds obtained from advertising or promotion paid by an ACCME-defined commercial interest.

The Promotional Teacher and Author-Free™ Accredited CME would be a new designation and review process for those providers that wish to identify their CME program as “one that does not utilize teachers/authors that have acted for a commercial interest in promotional and marketing activities.”  In order to meet this designation, Standard 2, Resolution of Personal Conflicts of Interest of the ACCME Standards for Commercial SupportSM would be fulfilled by recusal.  That is, no person who has ACCME-defined relevant financial relationships derived from promotional and marketing activities may teach in or write for any CME program or part of a CME program that qualifies for this designation.

The independent CME funding entity is being proposed with the intent to create an organization that will accept unrestricted donations to be designated for the special purpose of funding accredited CME.  This funding proposal would ensure the independence of commercially supported CME if the program receives funds from a pooled source.  The pooled funds would be distributed to ACCME Recognized and Accredited organizations to be used for the development and presentation of CME.  In its proposal, ACCME suggests that the funding entity be independent of ACCME; would not provide funds to ACCME; have its own independent management and governance structure; would establish its own granting criteria that meet ACCME’s content validation policies; and would fund CME for U.S. learners.

ACCME is accepting comments on each of these proposals until May 21, 2009, which can be submitted electronically here.

Categories: Drug Development