Definition of a Commercial Interest

commercial interest is any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients.

The ACCME does not consider providers of clinical service directly to patients to be commercial interests - unless the provider of clinical service is owned, or controlled by, an ACCME-defined commercial interest.

A commercial interest is not eligible for ACCME accreditation. Commercial interests cannot be accredited providers and cannot be joint providers. Within the context of this definition and limitation, the ACCME considers the following types of organizations to be eligible for accreditation and free to control the content of CME:

  • 501-C Non-profit organizations (Note, ACCME screens 501c organizations for eligibility. Those that advocate for commercial interests as a 501c organization are not eligible for accreditation in the ACCME system. They cannot serve in the role of joint provider, but they can be a commercial supporter.)
  • Government organizations
  • Non-health care related companies
  • Liability insurance providers
  • Health insurance providers
  • Group medical practices
  • For-profit hospitals
  • For profit rehabilitation centers
  • For-profit nursing homes
  • Blood banks
  • Diagnostic laboratories

ACCME reserves the right to modify this definition and this list of eligible organizations from time to time without notice.


The ACCME holds accredited providers accountable for ensuring the independence of CME. To ensure independence, it is essential for providers to understand how the ACCME defines a commercial interest. This definition sets the standard for determining organizations' eligibility for CME accreditation, as well as their eligibility to participate in joint providership with accredited providers. For additional information about types of organizations that are eligible for ACCME accreditation, see: Eligibility. This policy is relevant to Standard for Commercial Support 1: Ensuring Independence in Planning CME Activities.

The ACCME’s Corporate Structure Review process is in place to assist organizations in determining whether they may be an ACCME-defined commercial interest.