The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) said that for the time being, it won’t ban commercial support of CME.
The ACCME had posed a ban as one possible solution to concerns about the independence of CME from industry influence and issued a call for comment. Having thought about it, the accrediting body’s board said it feels its Standards of Commercial Support are an adequate safeguard against commercial bias.
“Of course, the ACCME reserves the right to re-evaluate this position from time to time, but at this point, no action will be taken,” said the board’s executive summary. The organization is developing an “enhanced monitoring system” to be rolled out this year and next that includes direct observation of CME activities by volunteer monitors.
Advocates of continued commercial support for CME from industry were jubilant.
“It shows the ACCME is paying attention to what all the parties involved in CME are saying,” said Tom Sullivan, president of med ed firm Rockpointe and author of the Policy and Medicine blog. “There was overwhelming support for commercial support among both providers and physicians in the comments.”
John Kamp, executive director of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, said: “These decisions demonstrate that a significant body of CME leaders from academic, hospital and government organizations believes that commercial support for CME provides a great benefit for physician learners and their patients. While Macy, journal editors, academics and other ‘scholars’ campaign to eliminate commercial support from their lofty perches, the folks with experience and expertise getting these programs done focus on improvements that advance patient care rather the pursuit of academic purity.”