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Commercial Support for a continuing medical education (CME) activity is financial, or in-kind, contributions given by a commercial interest, which is used to pay all or part of the costs of a CME activity. The definition of roles and requirements when commercial support is received are outlined in the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support.
The ACCME holds accredited providers accountable for ensuring the independence of CME. To ensure independence, it is essential for providers to understand how the ACCME defines a commercial interest. This definition sets the standard for determining organizations' eligibility for CME accreditation, as well as their eligibility to participate in joint sponsorship and collaborative relationships with accredited providers.
A commercial interest is any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients. The intent was to ensure that accredited CME and eligibility to be accredited be kept separate and independent from commercial interests, as required by the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support.
The ACCME has always recognized that providers of clinical services directly to patients, such as hospitals, health systems, medical group practices, blood banks, and diagnostic laboratories, are an integral component of accredited CME in that they represent the provision of CME by the profession for the profession. Therefore, those entities have been deemed NOT to be commercial interests.
If a commercial supporter wishes to provide funding for your educational activity, you must fill out and sign a Written Agreement of Commercial Support and a W-9 form. If the company just wants to exhibit at an event, you do not need to use the Agreement. In both cases, funding must flow from the company to a Department account, and not be provided to an individual who may be speaking or directing the event. Provision of an unrestricted educational grant (‘commercial support’) does not entitle the company to set up a product display. These are two separate transactions.
The best way to receive assistance with commercial support questions and issues is to contact the compliance coordinator, Teri Thomann, in the Office of Continuing Medical Education at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (319) 353-3023.
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