Medical education companies meeting privately with
regulators aired their disproval of a new policy they say treats them unfairly,
but real parity appeared beyond reach.
During a December summit, the Accreditation Council for CME
(ACCME) acknowledged that commercial conflicts occur beyond MECCs. Still,
according to minutes from the meeting supplied by the North American
Association of Medical Education and Communication Companies, ACCME asserted
that its current mandate only includes consideration of content and conflict
issues related to FDA-regulated companies. “ACCME noted that any change to that
might be considered ‘mission creep.'”
For its part, ACCME did agree to put the “level playing field”
issue on its agenda for a board meeting scheduled for March, but that's no
guarantee the concern will be addressed.
Michael Lemon, NAAMECC president, said the group is
“encouraged that ACCME is opening a dialogue with various interests that
represent accredited providers. There's a lot of work to be done, and our voice
needs to be heard.”
At issue is the ACCME's decision to allow
schools, hospitals and societies to be exempt from its expanded definition of a
commercial interest (MM&M, November 2007), despite receiving comments from
groups that the need for exemptions weakens the policy.