What information do I need to collect in order to be compliant with Criterion 7, Standard for Commercial Support 2 (SCS 2)?

Published Date: 
August 22, 2013
Last Revised: 
August 22, 2013

SCS 2.1 says that providers “must be able to show that everyone who is in a position to control the content of an education activity has disclosed all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest to the provider.” Therefore, the provider must do both of the following:

  1. Collect information from everyone in control of content, meaning anyone that has the opportunity to affect the content, including, but not limited to planners, faculty, authors, committee members, content reviewers, editors, and staff depending on the accredited provider’s processes for developing educational activities
  2. Collect information about relevant relationships with any commercial interest, meaning
    • financial relationships in any amount,
    • including financial relationships of their spouse or partner,
    • within the 12 months prior to the educational activity,
    • with an ACCME-defined commercial interest, and
    • That relate to the content of the educational activity

SCS 1, 2.2 and 2.3 then go on to tell the provider what actions need to happen as a result of collecting that information:

SCS 1.1 – If the relevant financial relationship described by an individual is as an employee or owner of an ACCME-defined commercial interest, that person may not be in control of content of accredited CME, except in three exceptional circumstances described by the ACCME.

SCS 2.2 – If anyone refused to provide the information described above to the provider, then that person must be disqualified from having any control over the educational content of the activity.

SCS 2.3 – The provider must implement a mechanism to determine if the relevant financial relationships that were disclosed create a conflict of interest and then resolve those conflicts of interest.

Providers will not be in compliance with SCS 2 if they do any or all of the following:

  • Only collect information about significant financial relationship or set a minimum dollar amount for disclosure
  • Do not advise individuals that they should also report the relevant financial relationships of their partners or spouses
  • Do not gather information about relationships within the 12 months prior to the educational activity
  • Use a definition of commercial interest that is incomplete, outdated, or different than the complete, current ACCME definition (see below)

In addition, providers will not be able to demonstrate compliance with SCS 6, disclosing relevant financial relationships to the learner, if they have not gathered the correct information in SCS 2.

Please note that the ACCME expanded the definition of commercial interest in 2007. The current definition reads: "A commercial interest is any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients." CME providers must use the complete definition in their processes and tools. Failure to use the complete definition could cause an accredited provider to:

  • partner with an ACCME-defined commercial interest;
  • collect incomplete information related to the relevant financial relationships of those in control of content; and therefore
  • not resolve all conflicts of interest; and/or
  • not disclose all relevant financial relationships to learners.

This could lead to one or more noncompliance findings in Criterion 7 (Standards for Commercial Support 1, 2, and 6).

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