ACCME Offers Guidance for CME Providers Related to Revised Industry Codes in Europe and Asia
The ACCME is aware of the changes to the codes of conduct that have been introduced by MedTech Europe, AdvaMed, and APACMed, organizations that represent the device manufacturing industry. Beginning in 2018, the expectations of the revised codes require member manufacturers to discontinue direct payments to clinicians to fund attendance by these clinicians at professional development activities. The manufacturers may continue to support the engagement of clinicians in professional development activities through grants given to health systems/employers, and through grants to accredited CME providers.
The ACCME applauds the changes the associations have introduced in the codes of ethical business practices since they bring industry standards in closer alignment with those that have existed here in the United States since 1992, and in doing so support greater transparency and independence in global medical education. Many of the principles espoused in the revised codes are aligned with the Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. These standards have been recognized internationally as a benchmark for independent medical education, and have been adopted by numerous other healthcare continuing education accreditors in the United States and around the world.
Standards for Integrity and Independence Apply Internationally
As has always been the case, organizations accredited in the ACCME System can accept financial support for their educational activities from commercial entities such as device manufacturers under the revised codes and successfully maintain independence from industry by adhering to Standard 4: Manage Commercial Support Appropriately. Standard 4 allows accredited organizations to accept funds from ineligible companies (formerly known as commercial interests), with the express understanding that the accredited organization will:
- Make all decisions regarding the use of the support independent of any company or companies
- Have a signed written agreement with the company that includes the specific terms and conditions of the support
- Use the funds only for the educational activity and to offset the cost of participation to the learners as a whole
- Not pay for travel, lodging, honoraria, or personal expenses for non-teacher or non-author participants of the supported educational activity
- Disclose to learners the source and (if in-kind) the nature of the commercial support
These expectations apply to any activities that an accredited provider offers, regardless of where the activity is held.
Alignment between the revised codes and ACCME requirements can be achieved by ensuring that funds received from companies by organizations accredited in the ACCME System are not used to pay for travel, lodging, honoraria, or personal expenses for non-teacher or non-author participants of the supported educational activity. This expectation to follow ACCME standards also applies to organizations that are acting as agents of the accredited organization offering the activity, such as firms that provide meeting planning services, nonaccredited joint providers, or other stakeholders in an educational event.
The intent of this component of the Standards is to ensure that the accredited organization does not act as an intermediary to establish a relationship between an ineligible company and learners in an accredited activity, and help ensure that clinicians’ prescribing or device usage patterns are not influenced inappropriately through accredited education.
If an international learner receives funding from his/her hospital or some other entity, not affiliated with the organization accredited in the ACCME System, to participate in the education and those funds come from an ineligible company, the accredited organization is not prohibited from accepting that learner’s registration/participation in the education.
As always, accredited providers who have additional questions about meeting ACCME standards and expectations can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: This item has been updated to reflect the Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education, released in December 2020.
You can find the codes at the following links: