The CME enterprise brought in more than $2.3 billion in revenues last year, a 6 percent increase over 2005 according to the Accreditation Council for CME's 2006 annual data report, released in July. While the growth is a good sign, it's less of an increase than in previous years. In 2005, revenues increased 9 percent over 2004; in 2004, income rose 15 percent over the year before. Expenses are paralleling the income growth; they also rose 6 percent in 2006 over 2005.

Many CME experts have predicted that drug and device companies would curtail their CME grants because of the regulatory environment. The good news is that providers reported that they received more than $1.1 billion in commercial support in 2006, a 7.5 percent jump over 2005. That figure represents a greater increase than last year, when commercial support rose just 4 percent over 2004.

The bad news is that the commercial support growth rate has declined dramatically over the years. In 1999, for example, commercial support grew 28 percent over 1998, the first year the ACCME issued its data report. It reached a peak growth rate in 2002, 31 percent, followed by a 30 percent jump in 2003. It then began its current dip, dropping to a 10 percent growth rate in 2004.

The CME enterprise's dependence on industry funding has grown over the years. In 2006, commercial support represented 50 percent of the total income for the CME provider community; in 1998, providers reported that commercial support made up 34 percent of their total income.

One caveat: Beginning with 2005, the data report's commercial support income category included income only from companies that are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, not commercial support received from other sources, as previous reports did. Nontraditional commercial support income now falls under the “other” category. While some income was reallocated, this change does not seem to account for much of the slide in the commercial support growth rate. For the full report, visit www.accme.org.