Industry support of CME declines 17%Total commercial support of accredited CME fell 17% to $856 million in 2009, according to ACCME's annual report—marking its second straight year of double-digit declines on a percentage basis.
For 2007, ACCME data showed commercial support increasing 1%. Sandwiched between 2008, when industry grants slid 14% to $1 billion, and a decade of sizable gains before it, 2007 proved to be the peak. The 2009 total also marks the first time since 2003 that industry funding dipped below $1 billion.The number of physicians and non-physicians participating in CME stayed fairly flat in 2009, rising just 1% and 3%, respectively. The steady attendance figures—10.7 million doctors and 6.8 million non-physicians—proved to be a lone bright spot.
Total income reported by accredited providers fell 7.6% to $2.2 billion, while total expenses also decreased 11.9% to $1.7 billion. Providers actually faced higher fees and administrative work last year as they incorporated new transparency and measurement policies. The lower expenses could partly reflect attrition among ACCME-accredited providers: there are now 707 vs. 725 in 2008.The number of certified CME activities and the number of hours of CME logged were also down in 2009, with activities declining 5.8% to 95,062 and hours plunging 10.4% to 689,768.
Industry grants, now accounting for 39% of total CME income vs. 56% in 2008, have taken a hit due to overall budget cuts by drug and device companies and the extreme scrutiny placed on industry-supported CME due to perceived bias.Those hardest hit by the decline in commercial support were professional associations, which saw total income fall nearly 25%, followed by MECCs, which experienced a 21% drop.