Continuing Medical Education, AAFP Activities and Industry Funding

The AAFP affirms that it must maintain responsibility for control over the selection of content, faculty, education methods and materials in all of its continuing medical education (CME) activities, to ensure objectivity, balance, and scientific rigor and independence. "Responsibility" for "control" includes all aspects of topic selection, content development, and speaker selection, whihc will be conducted by the AAFP.

The AAFP appreciates the financial support provided by proprietary entities for its CME activities. Any funds for this purpose must be in the form of an unrestricted educational grant made payable to the AAFP as the accredited provider of the supported activities. These activities are subject to the AAFP's guidelines for external relationships involving CME.

The AAFP affirms the American Medical Association (AMA) Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs Opinion 8.061 "Gifts to Physicians from Industry" (December 1990, updated June 1996 and June 1998), the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) "Standards for Commercial Support" (adopted by the ACCME in September 2004, adopted by the AAFP in March 2005), and the Council of Medical Special Societies (CMSS) "Code for Interactions with Companies," (adopted by the AAFP in April 2010, updated March 2011).

The AMA "Ethical Guidelines for Gifts to Physicians from Industry" serves as a guide to individual AAFP members, the ACCME "Standards for Commercial Support" serves as a guide for the development of all CME activities by the AAFP; and the CMSS "Code for Interactions with Companies" serves as a guide for the AAFP's relationships with commerical interests.

The AAFP is of the opinion that the AMA guidelines are open to interpretation. The AAFP extends the AMA guidelines to cover relationships with all proprietary health-related entities that might create a conflict of interest rather than limiting the application of thep rinciples to "pharmaceutical, device, and medical equipment industries." The AAFP has the right and responsibility to interpret the guidelines for the organization and its members on an ongoing basis. The AAFP opposes federal or state governmental efforts to enforce these guidelines. The issue of enforcement is the responsibility of physicians and their professional organizations.

In 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released the "National Physician Payment Transparency Program" (formerly known as the Sunshine Act) which requires manufacturers of pharmaceuticals or medical devices to publicly report payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals thereby creating greater transparency around the financial relationships that occur among them. Indirect payments to faculty are exempted from reporting when the CME activity meets the accreditation requirements and standards of the ACCME and/or the eligibility requirements and standards of the AAFP CME Credit System.  (1991) (2014 April BOD)