Although the Sunshine Act explicitly avoided the requirement of public reporting of indirect commercial payments in support of accredited continuing medical education programs, the Proposed Rule seeks to expand coverage into this area. As the CME Coalition's comments suggest, the expansion of the reporting requirements to CME would have devastating effects on the viability of future commercial support for continuing medical education - currently the source of one-third of its funding. Additionally, the abundance of existing "conflicts rules" that prevent commercial supporter bias in accredited CME -- as already determined by ACCME, AMA, PhRMA, AdvaMed, and others -- renders the Sunshine Act unnecessary. Finally the crushing amount of data tracking and reporting that would be required of organizations engaged in the provision and support of CME would be truly overwhelming, and in many cases, impossible to implement. The resulting elimination of educational opportunities for physicians would ultimately exact a painful, and unnecessary, toll on patient outcomes.
The Coalition's comments may be found in their entirety at www.cmecoalition.org in the Sunshine Act Resources Section.