In response to the ongoing controversy of industry researchers presenting at scientific conferences such as the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions (articles here and here) the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) today released this statement seeking input from CME providers:
As the national standard bearer, the ACCME accreditation system is designed to ensure that continuing medical education is independent, promotes improvements in physician performance and patient care, and serves the best interests of the public. In March 2009, we clarified our guidelines restricting industry employees’ role in accredited CME in response to questions from accredited providers. This is not a new policy. It is a clarification of our Standards for Commercial Support, which were issued in 2004. The goal of the policy is to support education about scientific advances in an atmosphere that is free of commercial bias.
We recognize this policy addresses complex issues and presents challenges for some accredited organizations. We are engaged in ongoing discussions with them to understand their specific circumstances and to provide support as they develop implementation strategies. We welcome constructive debate and input about this policy and all issues related to managing conflicts of interest in accredited CME. We will keep accredited providers and other stakeholders apprised of the progress of these discussions. The ACCME is committed to setting fair and reasonable standards that support education about scientific research and developments, while ensuring that accredited CME is independent and free of commercial influence.
It is important that your concerns over preventing industry scientists from presenting in scientific presentations are submitted to the ACCME.
To Submit Comments: email@example.com
AHA Ban on Industry Posters and Presenters: Conflict of Interest Run Amuck?
Continuing Medical Education: The Need for Clarity and Resources
One thought on “ACCME Seeks Input on Industry Scientific Presentation Policy”
The ban on CME presentations by industry scientists is based on two assumptions:
1- that such individuals are inherently disposed to offering biased and/or inaccurate information
2- that, by virtue of their employment, their propensity to do so is enormous enough to make their conflict of interest insurmountable, whereas the COI of others who are not similarly employed may indeed be reconcilable.
Both of these assumptions are seriously flawed and for many reasons that have already been discussed. But here’s something else to consider. These are the people whose scientific activities have resulted in medicines and devices that diagnose, treat and cure our diseases. In no other segment of our society besides CME has anyone deemed that these individuals are anything less than the scientists that they are. No other institution or group adds an asterisk to their name that appends the description “Not suitable for legitimate medical education.”
Industry scientists do indeed have a conflict of interest that must be resolved. But to label them as unfit to teach is really an affront to everyone whose health has been improved by their work. Neither they nor we deserve to have them placed on the educational no-fly list.