The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) has modified its requirements to prohibit the inclusion of ACCME-defined commercial interest logos in educational materials and disclosure of commercial support. The modifications continue the ACCME’s more than 30-year commitment to ensuring the separation of accredited continuing medical education (CME) from promotion.
“After careful deliberation and review of the comments we received, the ACCME determined that the logos of ACCME-defined commercial interests—as a form of corporate branding—are not appropriate to include in educational materials or disclosure of commercial support in accredited CME,” said Murray Kopelow, MD, ACCME President and CEO.
Dr. Kopelow further explains the decision and what it means for accredited CME providers in this video commentary.
Listening to Stakeholders
The modifications implement policy that the ACCME had adopted in 2011, but had deferred implementing while it was engaged in simplifying the accreditation requirements and process. In recent months, the ACCME conducted a feedback survey followed by a call for public comment about the plan to implement the commercial interest logo prohibition. More than 500 people responded.
Most respondents supported the implementation plan. Respondents who agreed said the modifications would minimize any possibility of conflict of interest, eliminate any ambiguity, decrease participants’ perception of real or perceived bias, and strengthen the perception of the value of the Standards for Commercial Support ℠: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME Activities (SCS).
Those opposed to the modifications expressed concerns that prohibiting commercial interest logos would decrease transparency and disclosure, and make it more difficult to distinguish between commercially supported CME and CME that is not commercially supported.
“We thank our stakeholders for their thoughtful responses. The ACCME decided the value of continuing the separation of accredited CME from promotion outweighed any concerns. However, the concerns expressed by some stakeholders that this modification has the potential to reduce transparency and disclosure are extremely important to us. We encourage CME providers who are concerned about the removal of logos to consider other strategies in support of disclosure and transparency. Disclosure and transparency have always been— and will always be—fundamental values of the ACCME,” said Dr. Kopelow.
Modifications to Standards for Commercial Support and Related Policy
The changes include modifications to Standards for Commercial Support ℠: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME Activities (SCS) 4.3, SCS 6.4, and the Commercial Support Acknowledgment Policy, as shown below. Additions are shown in blue; deletions are in red and strikethrough.
Standard 4: Appropriate Management of Associated Commercial Promotion
Standard 4.3: Educational materials that are part of a CME activity, such as slides, abstracts and handouts, cannot contain any advertising, corporate logo, trade name or a product-group message of an ACCME-defined commercial interest.
Standard 6: Disclosures Relevant to Potential Commercial Bias
Standard 6.4: Disclosure of commercial support must never include the use of a trade name or a product-group message of an ACCME-defined commercial interest.
Commercial Support Acknowledgments Policy
The provider’s acknowledgment of commercial support as required by SCS 6.3 and 6.4 may state the name, mission, and areas of clinical involvement of
the company or institution and an ACCME-defined commercial interest but may not include corporate logos and slogans. , if they are not product promotional in nature.
Accredited Providers: What This Means for You
The prohibition against using commercial interest logos only applies within the parameters of SCS 4.3, 6.4, and the Commercial Support Acknowledgments Policy. The modifications only apply to logos of ACCME-defined commercial interests— not to organizations that fall outside that definition.
The modifications apply to all CME providers within the ACCME accreditation system, including providers directly accredited by the ACCME and those accredited by ACCME Recognized Accreditors (state or territory medical societies that are recognized by the ACCME as accreditors of intrastate CME providers).
If you have questions about how to comply with the modifications, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ACCME Web site has been updated to reflect the modifications. Please see the following materials:
The Accreditation Requirements and Descriptions of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME): A PDF compilation of the ACCME accreditation requirements.
“Continuing the Separation of Education from Promotion: Prohibiting the Use of Commercial Interest Logos in Commercial Support Disclosure,” a video commentary with Murray Kopelow, MD, ACCME President and CEO
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) is a nonprofit organization based in Chicago that is responsible for accrediting US 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 healthcare for patients and their communities. There are approximately 2,000 accredited CME providers in the United States, whose activities educate more than 24 million healthcare practitioner participants annually.
The ACCME's member organizations, which represent the profession of medicine and include physician licensing and credentialing bodies, are the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association for Hospital Medical Education, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies and the Federation of State Medical Boards of the US, Inc.
For more information, visit www.accme.org.