Total commercial support of CME scarcely budged in 2007, rising 1% to $1.2 billion, while the share of commercial support going to publishing and education companies declined 4.2% to $594 million, according to the ACCME's annual report.
Medical publishers and med ed agencies weren't the only providers to see support slide, data from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education show. Commercial support to government and military providers fell a whopping 94%, while support to hospitals plunged 18% and that going to medical schools fell 5%.
Those gaining in commercial support: specialist societies and other non-profits, as well as insurance and managed care companies.
Total income reported was nonetheless up 6.5% overall, while the number of physician participants rose 5.4% and the number of CME activities increased by 20.8%.
However, the drop in commercial support suggests that congressional inquiries into industry funding of CME and criticism within academic and medical circles may be having an impact.
Tom Sullivan, president of med ed firm Rockpointe Corp., said the reality is probably worse than the data suggests.
“I'm wondering if people are over-reporting,” said Sullivan. “I think there's probably been a drop in support and it's showing up as static because people are being more diligent in how they report.” Some firms, he suggested, may be including advertising and exhibits income, which is not considered commercial support, just to be on the safe side at a time of intense scrutiny on CME funding.