CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION
minimize Industry influence on CME, the guidelines are only voluntary.
Drug companies are not required to follow the PhRMA Code, and
physicians are not required to comply with AMA guidelines on financial
relationships with industry. Thus, the guidelines’ effectiveness is limited
by their lack of enforceability. Other than FDA and OIG’s enforcement of
off-label marketing and Anti-Kickback violations, the ACCME Standards
for Commercial Support are the only mandatory standards with which CME
providers must comply to obtain or retain their accreditation.
I. Hospital CME Conflict of Interest Policies
Many hospital networks have their own conflict of interest policies, some
of which are stricter than the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support.
Partners Healthcare (Partners), for example, includes several hospitals that
serve Harvard University and maintains a strict conflict-of-interest
policy. 129 The Partners’ policy presents another example of standards with
which some CME providers must comply.
Though it requires compliance with the ACCME Standards for
Commercial Support for many of its policies, the Partners’ policy goes
further than the ACCME standards in several key respects. For example,
industry support for a specific CME activity must come from more than one
drug or device company, and no single industry entity can provide more
than seventy percent of the total commercial support. 130 Industry support
for a particular CME activity must also be disclosed to the participants prior
to the beginning of the event. 131
Two of the more progressive elements of Partners’ policy are the
Educational Review Board (ERB) and the President’s Fund. Partners’
institutions may not accept industry funding for any educational programs
except through the ERB or the President’s Fund mechanisms. 132 The ERB
is responsible for approving, monitoring, and reviewing industry-supported
educational programs. 133 It must review and approve all support from
industry sponsors for any CME activities and conduct more specific content
reviews of presentations and programs that it deems to present particular
concerns with conflicts of interest before the CME event. 134 The
129. See PARTNERS HEALTHCARE, POLICY FOR INTERACTIONS WITH INDUSTRY AND OTHER
OUTSIDE ENTITIES 62 (2012), available at http://www.partners.org/Assets/Documents/About-
130. Id. § 3. 3. 4.
131. Id. § 3. 3. 6.
132. See id. §§ 3. 1. 2, 3. 4.
133. Id. § 3. 2. 1.
134. Id. §§ 3. 2. 2-3. 2. 3.