Revised May 19, 2015
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) has provided additional guidance related to the role of ACCME-defined commercial interest employees in accredited CME (continuing medical education). The guidance outlines the ACCME standards for ensuring independence for CME about discovery and research.
We are providing the updated guidance as a result of discussions we have had over the last several months with accredited providers concerning the role of commercial interest employees in accredited CME about research and discovery. The ACCME’s objective is to support the free flow of scientific exchange while safeguarding accredited CME from commercial influence.
The 2004 ACCME Standards for Commercial Support: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME Activities call for accredited providers to produce accredited CME that is independent and free of the control of ACCME-defined commercial interests.
In 2009, in response to questions from providers, the ACCME provided guidance about the role of employees of ACCME-defined commercial interests in accredited CME. The ACCME said that under some circumstances, employees of ACCME-defined commercial interests can plan, speak and present in accredited CME – and in some circumstances they cannot. This ACCME policy relates to Standard 1: Independence.
In order to serve the best interests of the public, the ACCME is careful to avoid making policy that would interfere with the translation of discovery into appropriate use.
We recognize that it is important for accredited CME to include reporting about the discovery phase of product development. We also realize that employees of ACCME-defined commercial interests are often involved in research and discovery. We appreciate that accredited providers face complex challenges when determining how to integrate discovery and research into accredited CME while safeguarding independence and complying with ACCME requirements. Over the last two years, the ACCME has worked closely with accredited providers as they have adapted their CME programs to comply with ACCME policy regarding the role of employees of ACCME-defined commercial interests in accredited CME. The ACCME and accredited providers have worked together to develop strategies that facilitate the appropriate flow of new information, while at the same time preserving accredited CME’s independence.
Together, the ACCME and accredited providers have recognized that there are circumstances where an employee of an ACCME-defined commercial interest can make a scientific presentation within accredited CME about their company’s research — and be compliant with the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support. The guidance includes examples of important factors for providers and the ACCME to consider in determining an appropriate role for an employee of an ACCME-defined commercial interest in planning or presenting accredited CME.
The ACCME will continue to answer providers' questions and support them through the process of developing and implementing strategies to meet ACCME standards for independence.
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education is a not-for-profit organization based in Chicago that is responsible for accrediting U.S. institutions that offer continuing medical education through a voluntary, self-regulatory system. The ACCME also has a system for recognizing state medical societies as accreditors for local organizations offering CME.
The ACCME's mission is to identify, develop and promote standards for quality continuing medical education that improves health care for patients and their communities. There are currently approximately 2,200 accredited CME providers in the United States, whose educational activities draw more than 17 million health care practitioner participants annually.
The ACCME's member organizations include the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Association for Hospital Medical Education, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies and the Federation of State Medical Boards of the U.S. Inc.
For more information, visit www.accme.org.