The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education has announced it will not be taking any action to ban commercial support at this time. That decision and other news are outlined in an executive summary of the March 2009 board of directors meeting.
In making its decision, the ACCME determined that its current regulatory policies, including the Standards for Commercial Support, provide effective means for ensuring that continuing medical education is free from commercial bias.
However, the ACCME is considering creating new designation and review processes for continuing medical education providers who want to identify their programs as "Commercial Support Free," and/or "Promotional Teacher and Author Free."
The ACCME will also consider creating an independent, centralized granting agency that will distribute pharmaceutical and medical device industry funding to CME providers.
The ACCME is developing details on the new designations and centralized funding pool and will issue a call for comment before taking final action.
Last summer, the ACCME issued a call for comment regarding its proposal to ban commercial support or create a new model. As we reported in "Thumbs Down for New Funding Model," (December 2008), many CME organizations opposed revamping the system, saying there was no evidence to support sweeping changes and that greater enforcement of the existing rules would be the better option.
The ACCME has posted the feedback it received. According to an analysis done by the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, 93 percent of those who responded to the ACCME's call for comment opposed the elimination of commercial support.
To ramp up enforcement of its guidelines, the ACCME is developing an enhanced monitoring system that will be rolled out in 2009 in 2010. It will include an expanded database of CME activities and direct observation of CME activities bymonitors.