Sunshine could chill CME attendance

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A physician survey by the pro-commercial CME group CME Coalition found that docs are reconsidering their participation in industry-sponsored CME, fearful that their inclusion in Sunshine Act databases as having received payments from companies will fuel perceptions of conflicts of interest.

Asked if “attendance at a commercially-supported CME event was reported in a public, online government database as a ‘payment' from the corporate supporter, would this affect your decision to attend CME courses?” three quarters of respondents said it would affect them at least “Somewhat,” and 47% answered “To a great extent.”

The CME Coalition polled 515 physicians across the US. Ninety-four percent of them had attended certified CME events in the past year. Over half had attended four or more events.

The Sunshine Act was folded into the Affordable Care Act, which passed in March 2010. The Sunshine Act portions of the law are not yet in effect, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has put off nailing down the details. These delays were the subject of a roundtable convened by one of the Sunshine Act's authors, Senate Committee on Aging chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI), in which CMS was harangued for putting the law on the back burner.

“All of the stakeholders—consumer and industry groups together—want a fair rule and want it implemented now,” Sen. Kohl said in a statement.

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