by Michael J. Shapiro | June 25, 2015
The Accrediting Council for Continuing Medical Education has issued a statement in response to the Unite Here petition  that seeks to stop pharmaceutical company funding of continuing medical education courses. According to the ACCME, only 11 percent of accredited CME courses receive industry funding, and such funding is tightly controlled. The statement in full follows.

"We respect Unite Here's concern about the independence of continuing medical education and we appreciate their recognition of the ACCME safeguards that protect CME from commercial bias. For more than 20 years, the ACCME standards have served as the bright line separating education from industry influence. Only 11 percent of CME events receive industry funding -- and that funding is tightly controlled by the rules issued by the ACCME, accredited CME institutions, physician leadership organizations and the industry. There is no evidence that commercial support creates commercial bias in accredited CME, results in inappropriate prescribing or leads to increased health-care costs. In fact, accredited CME supports public-health initiatives to improve quality and safety. For example, the Food and Drug Administration mandated that the industry fund accredited continuing education about safety and risk issues involved in prescribing opioid medications. There is considerable evidence to show that accredited CME has a positive impact on physicians' ability to deliver high-quality care. There are numerous examples of accredited CME programs that support initiatives to improve the quality and safety of health care for patients and communities across the country.

The ACCME is committed, as it always has been, to monitoring and responding to the changing the health-care environment to assure that accredited CME is independent, supports improvements in health care and serves the public interest. We believe it is in the best interest of health-care professionals and the patients they serve to facilitate thoughtful debate about emerging issues related to continuing education. We welcome input from all our stakeholders, including members of the public, and always offer the opportunity for the public to weigh in when we are considering policy changes."