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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Total CME Funding Drops, But Income from Pharma Increases

The AMA & many other physician groups are lobbying in support of a Senate bill to exempt drug and device makers from reporting the value of continuing medical education (CME), journal reprints, and textbooks provided to physicians (see here).

At the same time, while total accredited CME income is decreasing, the pharma industry is upping its financial support of CME, according to the 2015 Annual Report of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).

Data from ACCME Annual Reports. Click on image for an enlarged, more readable view.
However, pharma may be channeling money to CME through organizations that are not required by law to report the value of their support for CME.

ACCME's annual reports breakdown the major sources of financial support of CME. These sources include Government or military, Hospital/healthcare delivery system, Insurance company/managed-care company, Nonprofit (other), Nonprofit (physician membership organization), Publishing/education company (aka, MECCs or Medical Education Communication Company), School of Medicine, and other. Med Schools, MECCs, and Phys Societies account for 87% of the total funding, which in 2015 was $2.46 billion (down from $2.67 billion in 2014).

Data from ACCME Annual Reports. Click on Image for an enlarged, more readable view.
Over the past several years, pharma has increased its funding of CME through MECCs, while funding from other major sources has dropped or remained flat as shown in chart above/left. I am assuming nearly all of the commercial support, advertising, and exhibit fees are paid by drug and device companies.

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