Pew suggests that CME should eschew commercial support of live and online lectures or discussions that include treatment recommendations, including drugs or devices. If an academic center absolutely must accept commercial support, it should go above and beyond the Accreditation Council for CME Standards for Commercial Support by “creating a ‘blinded’ pool of industry funds; requiring that any activity be funded by more than one company; calling for physicians to use some of their own money (such as paying for their own meals); and locating the continuing medical education activity within an academic setting or other appropriate venue conducive to education.” The SCS already require financial disclosure, a hands-off approach to content and faculty, and procedures for managing any potential COI.

Medical schools should decide on a case-by-case basis whether to accept support for activities like training on medical devices, which could be prohibitively expensive otherwise and may require the company’s technical expertise to be effective. And they should observe commercially supported training carefully for potential conflicts and bias.