Guidance issued on joint sponsorship

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Non-accredited providers must comply with the same firewall rules as their accredited counterparts to continue working with them as joint sponsors, according to new guidance.

Released on the Web site of the Accreditation Council for CME (ACCME), the guidance pertained to ACCME's new definition of a commercial interest as it relates to joint sponsors. Non-accredited providers have until Aug. 2009 to determine their status under the revised definition.

The ACCME said that, upon request, it would help a non-accredited entity determine if it is a commercial interest. Joint sponsors falling within the new definition can modify their corporate structures “so that the CME component of their organization will be an independent entity.”

Even before the guidance, some providers were already checking on the status of MECCs they work with by sending a letter to unaccredited providers to request they show organizational charts.

The status of joint sponsors had been cloudy since the ACCME's Aug. 24 policy update containing the redefinition of a commercial interest. That was followed by a set of FAQs issued Oct. 15 by ACCME stating that a commercial interest cannot be a joint sponsor.

Accredited providers have the same deadline to comply with the ACCME's new definition, as well as to ensure that all joint sponsors are in compliance.

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