Physicians around the world are increasingly interested in obtaining credit for U.S-sponsored continuing medical education, reports the American Medical Association. In response, the AMA has made changes to its international credit policy. Medical education providers now need to register their educational activity for recognition with the AMA before issuing AMA Physician' s Recognition Award credit to international physicians .

The new registration policy will enable the AMA to develop a database of activities approved for credit, allowing international agencies to verify information about credit awarded to their physicians.

But are U.S. CME providers allowed to award credit to international physicians if their travel costs have been paid for by pharmaceutical firms? Outside of the U.S., drug companies are allowed to pay doctors’ attendance costs to meetings; however, those payments violate U.S. guidelines.

“We can't impose our ethical code on the rest of the world,” says Dennis K. Wentz, MD, director, continuing physician professional development, AMA. "Some would say we're turning a blind eye, but those physicians will be able to get credit even though their ethical codes are different than the ones in the United States.”

For more information, watch for the June issue of Medical Meetings.