ACCME Standards for Commercial Support get the green light

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This just in from ACCME: "The member organizations of the ACCME have unanimously approved the 2004 Updated ACCME Standards for Commercial Support: Standards to Ensure the Independence of CME Activities."

For complete information, click here.

Funny timing: I just came across this article about the new standards. In part, this is what it says:

    In the past, a doctor teaching such a course would disclose his or her financial relationship with any drug company, say as a paid member of the company's speakers' bureau or a grant recipient. Once that was out in the open, the physician might then talk glowingly about anecdotal experience with that company's drug.

    Now, a third party with no ties to the drug company would have to tell the doctor what kind of recommendations he or she could make. Anecdotal observations would be replaced by results of systematic clinical trials. Any review of journal literature would have to include negative, as well as positive, studies.

    "So this whole thing about just saying 'I've got a conflict of interest. And I've got a relationship. And I've got a personal opinion. And I'm probably biased. But, I'm going to tell you anyways,' that's not allowed," said Murray Kopelow, chief executive of the accreditation council.

This is, of course, a little off from what the Standards actually say, which is that CME providers must identify and resolve all conflicts of interest but leaves the decisions about how to do that up to providers. It almost seems like this reporter was looking at the previous draft Standards, which raised a huge wave of discontent because it did appear to imply that any faculty with industry ties should be disqualified from speaking. The latest proposal only says that CME providers must identify and resolve conflicts of interest--not disqualify faculty out of hand if they have ties to industry.

For the most part, CME providers I've spoken with seem to think the new Standards are an improvement, though some remained worried over that "resolve" part.

We'll have to wait and see how it all shakes out now that the new version is in play.

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