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Dr McMahon, who directs the US Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), criticises1 our article on how continuing medical education (CME) was used to sell hypoactive sexual desire disorder,2 stating that we ‘provide no supporting evidence’ for our claims that CME courses are an important marketing tool. Perhaps he missed the references in our article, but additional studies support our points.3–9
Dr McMahon also claims that industry supported only 11% of CME activities.1 ,10 However, ACCME doesn't count two forms of industry funding as commercial support. In 2011, ACCME stopped requiring reporting of in-kind support, defined as ‘nonmonetary resources provided by a commercial interest in support of a CME activity’. Examples include ‘equipment, supplies, and facilities’.11 In other words, industry can pay for meeting space, hotel rooms, audiovisual costs, food and other costs related to a CME event—but as long as the money is paid directly to a hotel, caterer and the like, none of the money is reported as commercial support.
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Competing interests AF-B is a paid expert witness at the request of plaintiffs in litigation regarding pharmaceutical marketing practices, and directs PharmedOut, a Georgetown University Medical Center project that encourages rational prescribing. AH is the paid project manager of PharmedOut. PharmedOut has a contract with theGeorge Washington Milken Institute School of Public Health to create industry-free continuing medical education modules and resources for the Washington DC Department of Health.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.