While continuing medical education providers must implement mechanisms to identify and resolve all conflicts of interest under the Accreditation Council for CME’s Standards for Commercial Support, it's up to providers to develop their own strategies, creating many dilemmas for CME professionals.

Ricker Polsdorfer, MD, medical director, Professional Education Services Group, Sterling, Va., hopes CME providers will weigh in on the questions below and begin to build consensus, thus "establishing a solid footing upon which to operate."

Here’s his scenario. "We will automatically approve presenters who have no commercial affiliations and whose abstracts do not suggest the inclusion of commercial products or mention commercial products only generically – e.g., fluoroquinolones, laser ablation, or total knee replacement. Two questions arise:

  • If a unique product is mentioned, such as a drug in a new class, a new diagnostic test, a brand name laser, or an orthopedic implant system, and it has no competition and it must be identified as such for the presentation to be useful, can that presentation be certified for credit?
  • If such a product does have competitors, but only one can serve as the focus of the presentation (as in a “How to Use” practicum), how, if at all, can that presentation be made to comply with COI standards and be certified?

Post your comments below.