CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION
applicant is unsure whether it is an ACCME-defined commercial interest, it
can request a corporate structure review from the ACCME for a $4,000
If the applicant is eligible to apply for accreditation, it must then verify
through a document review process that it is capable of complying with
ACCME Standards for Commercial Support. 83 The ACCME makes an
initial accreditation decision based upon the organization’s demonstration
of its ability to maintain a compliance program to root out conflicts of
interest and to prevent control or influence of CME content by industry
sponsors. 84 Receiving initial accreditation results in a two-year provisional
accreditation term, after which the organization can obtain either a four- or
six-year term of accreditation. 85
2. Developing and Obtaining Approval for a Topic
Before planning a specific CME program, a CME provider must first
develop a topic – a process that can be ripe for undue influence and bias
from industry. Interestingly, the ACCME Standards for Commercial
Support do not prohibit CME providers from asking pharmaceutical or
device companies about topics or speakers. The industry sponsor may not,
however, require the provider to accept advice or services concerning
teachers, authors, participants, or content as conditions of contributing
funds or services. 86 The ACCME Standards for Commercial Support
require that the provider make independent decisions about how it uses this
advice from commercial entities and prohibits the commercial supporter
from controlling the content or speakers in any way. 87
3. Obtaining Commercial Support for CME Activities
After obtaining approval to hand out CME credit for a given CME
activity, a provider can solicit drug and device companies for commercial
support. The ACCME Standards for Commercial Support define
determine-if-my-organization-commercial-interest (last visited Nov. 26, 2013).
82. Determining Your Eligibility, supra note 80.
83. Accreditation Council for Continuing Med. Educ., Initial Accreditation Process
process (last visited Nov. 26, 2013).
84. Accreditation Council for Continuing Med. Educ., How the ACCME
Makes Decisions, http://www.accme.org/printpdf/cme-providers/first-time-applicant/how-
accme-makes-decisions (last visited Nov. 26, 2013).
86. ACCME STANDARDS FOR COMMERCIAL SUPPORT, supra note 10, at 3.