The ACCME has compiled this collection of resources to help providers understand and implement Accreditation Criteria 7-10 — the Standards for Commercial Support: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME ActivitiesSM (SCS). Included in this tutorial are materials that were originally published in 2004 and 2005 after the release of the 2004 Updated SCS*, as well as links to key educational resources available on the ACCME Web site. If you have any follow-up questions about the SCS, please feel free to Contact Us.
*Please note: The 2004 Updated Standards for Commercial Support are the same Standards that are currently in effect and are now usually referred to as the Standards for Commercial Support or SCS.
Educational Tool from September 2004 News Release: "ACCME Member Organizations Approve 2004 Updated Standards for Commercial Support"
Resources from "Tools to Support Implementation of the ACCME Updated SCS" (January 2005)
In September of 2004, the ACCME member organizations unanimously approved the 2004 Updated ACCME Standards for Commercial Support: Standards to Ensure the Independence of CME Activities. The 2004 Updated Standards replaced the 1992 ACCME Standards for Commercial Support. To facilitate accredited providers' review and implementation of the SCS, the ACCME released "Tools to Support Implementation of the ACCME Updated SCS." Many of the sample letters and forms included in that toolkit have been utilized by the provider community and are included here for providers' continued reference.
Please note: These implementation tools are not interpretations of the SCS or related policies. They were developed in response to provider requests and are intended to offer providers examples and resources to support the implementation of the SCS. Organizations should feel free to adapt these tools to their specific CME programs. Providers are not required or expected to use these resources.
- Provider Self-Assessment on Readiness to Demonstrate Compliance with ACCME’s Updated Standards for Commercial Support
- PowerPoint Presentation: “Who Wants to be Accredited?”
Sample forms and letters
- Form to Identify Relevant Financial Relationships
- Letter to Identify Relevant Financial Relationships with Form Embedded
- Letter of Expectations Following Faculty Disclosure to Provider
- SAMPLE: Written Agreement for Commercial Support
The following are ACCME policies that supplement the Standards for Commercial Support:
Ask ACCME — Written FAQs
In response to providers' requests for clarification about the Standards for Commercial Support, the ACCME compiled Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that reside in the Ask ACCME section of the Web site. Here are the most commonly asked questions:
- What is a commercial interest?
- What does the ACCME mean by "control" in its expectation that a provider make certain decisions free from the "control" of a commercial interest?
- Can a provider offer education on medical devices and still be in compliance with the ACCME Accreditation Criteria?
- What financial relationships need to be disclosed to the accredited provider?
- When do relationships create "conflicts of interest?"
- How does a provider implement a mechanism for resolving conflicts of interest? It all seems very abstract and daunting, and seems to imply that experts with financial relationships must be excluded.
- What is commercial support?
- When an accredited provider is working in joint sponsorship, who needs to sign a written agreement for commercial support and when must it be signed?
- How should an accredited provider manage and report funds received from commercial interests to reserve space for a CME activity that is held in conjunction with another organization’s meeting?
- Can a CME provider distribute its CME activity via a television channel, website, or other type of communications vehicle that is owned by a commercial interest?
- Where can advertising appear related to educational events?
- Does CME have to give "equal time" to all modalities of therapy (e.g., surgical vs. medical)? Does CME have to give "equal time" to all formulations of a drug or all products in a class of products?
- What if an activity does in fact imply that a certain product or service is better than another?
- Is disclosure of commercial support different than disclosure of financial relationships?
- What does the ACCME mean by nature of the relationship related to providing disclosure to learners in SCS 6.1?
In addition to the written FAQs, the ACCME has produced video FAQs about the Standards for Commercial Support. Here are a few of those videos: