The ACCME received information indicating that an accredited provider’s activity violated Standard for Commercial Support 5: Content and Format without Commercial Bias. Standard 5 says that CME activities must promote improvements in health care, not the proprietary concerns of commercial interests, and must give a balanced view of therapeutic options. The complainant was concerned that the activity included personal opinion, conclusions, and observations that were not supported by any evidence; a literature review that only included articles in favor of the commercial supporter; and articles that discredited competitors’ products and mentioned a competitor’s product in a biased and negative manner.
The ACCME’s letter of inquiry asked the accredited provider to conduct an objective content review of the activity using two experts who were not involved in the planning, implementation, or evaluation of the CME activity, and to summarize and submit the findings of this independent content review to the ACCME. The ACCME also asked the provider to address the observations of the complainant, referencing the ACCME’s Criterion 10 of the Accreditation Criteria (Standard for Commercial Support 5) and Content Validation Policy in its reply.
The accredited provider wrote back to the ACCME and demonstrated that three outside physicians had conducted a content review of the activity. The provider and joint provider had also conducted their own internal content review, as well as a partial activity evaluation. Through an analysis of these processes, the provider determined that the content of the activity was not commercially biased and was based on valid content.
The Accredited Provider was issued a Notice of Compliance for the activity.