CME Leaders! Where are you on the Issue of Commercial Support?

July 22, 2008 at 6:19 pm Leave a comment

Few issues have sparked more controversy, debate, or consternation in CME then the current question of whether commercial interests should provide funding for CME activities. There is no need to chronicle the various positions or why the issue has such a prominent place in the CME dialog. We know what the issues are and we are aware of the position some groups with tertiary relationships to the field have taken.

My question is this “Where are the leaders in the field on this important issue? Why haven’t organizations like the Alliance for CME, the Society of Academic CME, the North American Association of Medical Education and Communications Companies, etc. put their stake in the sand on this critical issue”. They simply have not.

So in comes the ACCME, a regulating organization not an organization representing practitioners in the field, to establish the only alternative position to that of completely ending funding from commercial interests for all CME activities. The problem is that the ACCME proposed position on this issue is so restrictive it will likely have serious unintended consequences damaging the field for years to come.

I contacted the major membership organizations representing the field of CME and asked if they had a position on commercial support for CME. No! No! No! Not one of the groups that responded (and that was all but NAAMECC) have taken a formal position on this issue. Why not? Well it is too controversial. Well, we are responding to the ACCME “Call for Comment: but there are too many variations and variables in our part of the CME enterprise so a one size fits all model does not work. On and on. Responses bound by the limitations of organizational exigencies. Not the way policy should be driven but an unsavory reality of many organizations.

Should the CME profession tolerate ACCME (the regulator) taking the only leadership position in the field on this issue? Absolutely not! The CME stakeholder organizations must find a way to provide leadership on this issue. Regardless of the position taken a position must be taken. In the absence of this leadership from the profession the regulators will continue to dominate the field and lead it in directions it can control. That is not the leadership CME needs at this time.

Floyd Pennington

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Entry filed under: ACCME, Accreditation, CME, CME Issues, Continuing Medical Education, Pharma Funding, Physician Continuing Education, Physician Education.

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