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Show Me the Money- CME Transparency Reports

August 28, 2008

Transparency Reports

Most of the debate over CME swirls around the estimated $1.1 billion in annual grant funding from pharmaceutical companies. That’s why last week’s GSK announcement that they will issue quarterly transparency reports on educational and charitable grants issued was welcome news to anyone who seeks a bright future for CME. Starting February 2009, GSK will issue transparency reports on all U.S. grants to health-related organizations. The reports will include grants provided to organizations such as hospitals, teaching institutions, managed care organizations, professional associations, patient advocacy groups, and continuing medical education companies. In the press release announcing the transparency reports, GSK stated that it provides grants “for programs and organizations that foster increased understanding of scientific, clinical, and healthcare issues, and contribute to the enhancement of patient care.” Now that GSK, Merck, Pfizer, and Lilly are demonstrating financial transparency, two additional reports will be very helpful in the CME funding debate.

Additional CME Reports

First, the ACCME annual report data showing the total grant funding year-over-year. Usually, the ACCME distributes this information in July, however, the ACCME recently stated that the annual report data “is expected to be issued in mid-September this year.” The ACCME has been, well, busy this year. But at a time when funding is central to the debate and most experts believe we will see that CME grant funding declined significantly between 2006 and 2007, the ACCME needs to match the transparency of the funders. Once all major grant funders implement a grant transparency and posting system, it will be very interesting to develop a report that calculates the total grant support posted – versus the amount reported in other venues. Perhaps the numbers don’t match? Perhaps small and medium-sized pharma provide more in grant funding than previously projected? No matter what the financial figures show, sharing them openly will demonstrate that those who make appropriate investments in education have nothing to hide. If you have any questions about transparency reports, or any other CME related questions, please feel free to contact us here.