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CME Outfitters, LLC
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CME Outfitters Embraces ACCME's Updated Standards for Commercial Support
Joins high level industry discussions to interpret and implement new change
BETHESDA, MD - OCTOBER 21, 2004
CME Outfitters, an accredited provider of continuing medical education activities, today took part in a wide-ranging conference call with ACCME Executive Director Murray Kopelow, MD. CME Outfitters was included in the call through its membership in the North American Association of Medical Education and Communications Companies (NAAMECC), which coordinated the call between Dr. Kopelow and 47 of NAAMECC's member organizations.
The purpose of the call was to provide a forum for NAAMECC members seeking clarification on various issues related to the controversial Standards for Commercial Support (SCS), which were approved by the ACCME in September of 2004. Dr. Kopelow responded to several dozen questions posed by the association, including several that had been submitted by CME Outfitters.
CME Outfitters has been at the forefront of the provider community's efforts to shape the interpretation and implementation of these new guidelines, parts of which focus on identification and resolution of conflicts of interest for faculty presenters. After reviewing the Updated SCS, CME Outfitters conducted a close review of its existing policies on disclosure and conflict of interest, and determined that very few changes would be indicated as a result of the new guidelines. The company also engaged other respected accredited providers in discussions aimed at establishing a consensus among the provider community regarding the SCS. As a next step, CME Outfitters submitted specific questions to ACCME, and received prompt feedback signaling that its existing policies and procedures were substantially sufficient to ensure full compliance with the spirit and letter of the Updated SCS. The NAAMECC conference call with Dr. Kopelow was the latest effort by CME Outfitters to validate and strengthen its policies through an up-to-the-minute understanding of the new guidelines and related resources released by the ACCME.
Based on what it learned after the release of the SCS, CME Outfitters has adopted subtle but important changes to its policies. These changes focus on identification and resolution of potential conflicts of interest among faculty, and outline mechanisms for remedying any conflicts. CME Outfitters has accepted ACCME's offer to review and comment on its policies, and on October 20, 2004, submitted them for feedback.
Among the various topics discussed, Dr. Kopelow touched on these issues critical to commercially supported CME:
- Suggestions or directions on content from the commercial supporter to the provider- As before, commercial supporters may not unduly influence the development of CME activities, nor may they enter into quid pro quo arrangements that allow this to occur. The independence of the provider is the key element. Providers may ask or not ask for input from commercial supporters, but are not bound to incorporate this input. In this regard, there is no change in the guidelines.
- Identification and resolution of conflicts of interest- CME Outfitters' existing mechanisms for resolving conflicts of interest are in line with the new guidelines. These mechanisms include but are not limited to: Use of multiple presenters on each activity (promotes diverse opinions and perspectives, dilutes individual biases among presenters); presentation of evidence-based data from multiple sources (ensures quantifiable objectivity and fair balance); vetting of activity content by professional multidisciplinary advisory board review committee (ensures that control and validation of content resides with provider, fosters applicability to clinical practice).
CME Outfitters espouses the view that the ideal mechanism for resolving conflicts is the presentation of the most fair-balanced, independently vetted, scientifically rigorous data.
CME Outfitters has earned a reputation for serving the public interest by developing evidence-based, fair-balanced CME activities, and will continue to be an authoritative and respected voice in support of bias-free educational programming. For more information, please contact CME Outfitters at 877.CME.PROS or visit www.cmeoutfitters.com.
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