The American Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs won’t recommend banning commercial support of continuing medical education, the group reported in a progress update to the AMA at the Interim Meeting, held in November in Orlando.

CEJA’s report, “Industry Support for Professional Education in Medicine,” is a work in progress and is scheduled for release at the 2009 annual meeting next June. However, CEJA council member John McMahon, MD, corporate medical director, Mountain Pacific Quality Health Foundation, Helena, Mont., said that the council made clear in its progress update at the Interim Meeting that it does not support eliminating commercial support.

That stance is quite different from what CEJA recommended at the 2008 annual meeting last June. The council, which consisted of different members at the time, said that commercial support should be banned from CME. AMA’s Reference Committee did not act on the recommendation—instead, they referred it back to the committee to seek more input from additional stakeholders in CME.

CEJA is now working alongside the AMA’s Council on Medical Education to take advantage of their differing areas of expertise and focus. The two councils will develop complementary companion reports. CEJA will provide ethical analysis and recommended guidelines, while CME will make strategic recommendations for implementing ethical guidelines.

CEJA and CME will jointly solicit commentary from stakeholders on key issues relating to commercial support for CME. The comment period is now open. Commentary can be submitted through the AMA’s Web site.

Stated McMahon in an email: “The bottom line will be, as in all of our reports, what is best for patients. We will all insist that the physician remain the leader and [final decision-maker] in any healthcare decisions about what is best for patients.”