Ask ACCME Questions about Independence in Accredited CME

Chicago, IL
March 30, 2009

The ACCME routinely updates its "Ask ACCME" section of its website to reflect real-world questions regarding accreditation requirements and aspects of CME planning, implementation, and evaluation.  As we post these updates, we alert (via E-mail Alert) accredited CME providers to this new website content.  Our intent is to provide useful information that is translatable across provider types and activity formats.  Please note, however, that every fact and circumstance for each accredited provider might vary with the situation described in the question/answers. 

Recently, several accredited providers contacted the ACCME separately to seek clarification on the issue of allowing employees of commercial interests to plan/teach inside accredited CME.  Several questions had to do with industry employees submitting abstracts for poster sessions inside accredited CME.  Other questions had to do with education on medical devices that might require the technical skills of an industry employee. 

The ACCME Standards for Commercial SupportSM, Standard 1: Independence prohibits the circumstance that would allow the employee of the commercial interest to take the role of planner or teacher inside accredited CME if the content of the CME is related to the business lines or products of the commercial interest.  Standard 1 states:

SCS1.1   A CME provider must ensure that the following decisions were made free of the control of a commercial interest. (See ACCME Requirements for a definition of a ‘commercial interest’ and some exemptions.)

(a) Identification of CME needs;
(b) Determination of educational objectives;
(c) Selection and presentation of content;
(d) Selection of all persons and organizations that will be in a position to control the content of the CME;
(e) Selection of educational methods;
(f) Evaluation of the activity.

SCS1.2   A commercial interest cannot take the role of non-accredited partner in a joint provider relationship.

We thought the range of these questions along with the ACCME’s answers might be useful to other accredited providers. Please click here to review the questions that were asked and ACCME’s responses. 

Please review the accreditation requirements and policies as they relate to your organization. If you have questions specific to your facts and circumstances about any accreditation requirements, please submit your question in writing to  Thank you.


Contact Info: