On August 3, the Accreditation Council for CME sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance to address the committee’s concerns about CME. In a report issued in April and a subsequent letter to the, the SFC expressed reservations about the ACCME's oversight of continuing medical activities, suggesting that it was insufficient to guarantee that programs are independent of drug company influence.
The ACCME's letter outlined a five-step action plan for analyzing and improving the CME system. In the press release accompanying the letter, the ACCME said that the "implementation of this action plan will engage the entire CME enterprise in the development of solutions." The third step in the plan is likely to generate the most controversy -- it calls for review of the commercial support system. The ACCME says that it will consider alternate funding models, such as pooled funding and limits on commercial support. While the ACCME recognizes that CME providers can receive financial support from industry without undue influence, the letter says that "the future role of industry in CME, including that of a funder, will be evaluated in the context of independence."
The ACCME will also explore establishing a system for monitoring activities for commercial bias; strengthening the steps required for obtaining and maintaining accreditation; and expanding its education and outreach programs for learners,, commercial supporters, and CME planners.
For an interview with Murray Kopelow, MD, ACCME chief executive, about this plan, watch for the September/October issue of.