The Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology recently announced that they will no longer be offering CME credit at their conferences.
One of the leading causes for taking such action is in response to ACCME (Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education) policies over the past few years. Although these policies have been directed at eliminating the influence of commercial interests on CME programs by targeting abuses of the CME system, some of the policies put in place have had consequences, perhaps unintended ones, for Keystone Symposia.
The Keystone Symposia also was faced with this decision because about 70 leading scientists from all types of research institutions, and about 30% of the Scientific Advisory Board members are from commercial institutions, something which is no longer allowed by ACCME policies. This prohibition is extremely troubling for organizations like Keystone who have a tradition of including the highest-quality science presentations in its programs, irrespective of whether the presenters work in academic, government or industry research laboratories.
Another cause for discontinuing their CME program is ACCME’s policy that prevents scientific planners and speakers at a CME event can if they come from a commercial interest or if they have control of the content of their presentations and the content relates to the business interests of their company.
Such a rule, as Keystone noted, would essentially preclude Keystone Symposia from including industry scientific organizers and speakers at any meeting offering CME credit. This requirement is “incompatible with the high quality of Keystone Symposia programming, and it is unacceptable for their organization.”
Keystone firmly maintains that “scientists from industry must always know that they are welcome to present their cutting-edge results at Keystone Symposia conferences.”
In the future, Keystone hopes to continue its CME program once polices have changed. Those who have already paid the CME fee with their registration for a 2010 conference will be refunded.