CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION
include in the definition of “indirect payment” any payments to speakers at
accredited CME events, regardless of whether the industry sponsor
recommended any speakers.159 Otherwise, Industry sponsors could merely
route payments through CME providers to avoid disclosure, which would
contradict the purpose of the statute. Broader disclosure of industry
payments to accredited CME providers is an essential step toward reducing
commercial bias in CME.
B. Congress Should Designate Industry Funding of CME as
Taxable Income Rather than a Charitable Contribution
Currently, drug and device companies’ financial support for accredited
CME is tax-deductible as a charitable business expense, which encourages
industry to fund accredited CME.160 However, because drug and device
companies likely fund CME because they expect a return on their
investment, CME support is more akin to marketing expenses than charity.
If the government taxed commercial support for CME like any other taxable
business expense, it would likely limit the amount of industry funding for
CME, thereby driving down industry bias on CME content and topics. The
most significant issue facing CME providers with any proposal that would
limit industry funding is how such providers would establish alternative
sources of funding. Recommendations for obtaining other, more reliable
funding sources are discussed below.
C. Create a Public-Private Oversight Board
to Replace the ACCME
As the IOM recommended in its 2009 report on the status of CME,
establishing a national inter-professional institute would foster
improvements in CME.161 This public-private entity would involve a full
spectrum of stakeholders in healthcare delivery and CME, including
representatives from CMS, IOM, the Agency for Healthcare Research and
Quality (AHRQ), and industry stakeholders.162 It would be charged with
developing and overseeing comprehensive change in the way CME is
conducted, financed, regulated, and evaluated.163 Collectively, the
Westlaw through P.L. 113-36).
159. See Transparency Reports and Reporting of Physician Ownership or Investment
Interests, 78 Fed. Reg. 9458, 9524 (Feb. 8, 2013) (codified at 42 C.F.R. § 403.904).
160. See Jerry Avorn & Niteesh K. Choudhry, Funding for Medical Education:
Maintaining a Healthy Separation from Industry, 121 CIRCULATION 2228, 2232 (2010).
161. INST. OF MED., supra note 1, at 1.
162. Id. at 3.