Industry support of CME fell 14% in 2008, ACCME data show

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Total commercial support of accredited CME dropped 14% to $1 billion in 2008, according to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education's annual report – even as the number of physicians participating in CME activities jumped 22% to 10.6 million.

For 2007, ACCME data showed commercial support leveling off, growing a meager 1% after a decade of substantial gains. In 1998, total commercial support was just $301 million.

Total income reported by accredited providers fell 6.8% to $2.3 billion in 2008, while total expenses rose 1.6% to $1.9 billion as providers incorporated new transparency and measurement policies.

While the total number of accredited CME activities fell 10% in 2008, to 100,898, the number of hours of CME logged rose 4% to 769,439. The number of non-physician participants also rose, from 5.1 million to 6.5 million, bringing the total number of all participants to 17 million.

Industry grants, accounting for 56% of CME funding, have been battered by across-the-board budget cuts at drug and device companies, along with intense scrutiny on commercial support of CME due to perceived bias.

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