Frequently Asked Questions:
Faculty Disclosure and Resolution of Conflict of Interest

Q.  What are the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support?
A.  In September 2004, the ACCME first adopted the Standards for Commercial Support to strengthen the mechanisms to prevent the potential for commercial bias in CME activities.  The standards promote the development of effective strategies to ensure full disclosure of faculty relationships with commercial entities and the subsequent resolution of potential conflicts of interest, and the provision of evidence based information to learners.

QWhat is the ACCME’s definition of a Commercial Interest?
A.  The ACCME defines a “commercial interest” as any entity producing, marketing, reselling or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients with the exception of non-profit or government organizations.

Q.  What is a Relevant Financial Relationship?
A.  Relevant financial relationships are those relationships in which individuals benefit by receiving salary, royalty, intellectual property rights, consulting fees, honoraria, ownership interest or other financial benefit from a commercial support entity within the past 12 months.  ACCME considers financial relationships of the person involved in a CME activity to include financial relationships of a spouse or partner.

Q.   What types of financial relationship constitute a Conflict of Interest?
A.   Circumstances create a conflict of interest when an individual has an opportunity to affect CME content about the products or services of a commercial interest with which he/she has a financial relationship.

Q.  Can an employee of a commercial interest participate in the planning or presentation of educational content for a CME activity?
A.  No, to maintain independence, employees of commercial interests should NOT serve as planners or presenters.

Q.  How can Conflict of Interest be managed?
A.  In order to manage conflict of interest, we must know about relevant financial relationships that have occurred within the past 12-months. These financial relationships must be reported prior to the activity being developed and delivered to the learners.

Q.  Who has to disclose?
A.  All individuals who are engaged in the planning and delivering of a CME activity must complete a faculty disclosure form prior to planning the educational activity.  This includes activity directors, program chairs, specialty group chairs, planning committee members, faculty speakers, and moderators.

Q.  When is disclosure provided?
A.  Individuals involved in the planning of a CME activity are required to complete the ICS Planning Committee Member COI form 6-12 months prior to the activity.

Individuals involved in the presentation or teaching of an educational activity are required to complete the ICS Faculty/Speaker COI form once they have been selected to present or in the case of general abstract submissions at the time of submission.

Q.   Can YOU refuse to disclose?
A.   An individual who does not disclose or who refuses to disclose is disqualified from participating in an ICS-US CME activity.

Q.   How do we resolve a Conflict of Interest?
A.    All faculty members involved with the planning or teaching of a CME activity who disclose a relevant financial relationship  are deemed as having a conflict of interest. ICS-US will resolve that conflict prior to the CME activity.  One or more of the following mechanisms will be used to resolve the conflict:

  1. Peer Review of content (PowerPoint presentation, manuscript or any other materials that provide information about the content of the presentation) to ensure presentation is balanced.
  2. Change the content of the person’s assignment.
  3. Limit the Content to a report without recommendations.
  4. Replace the faculty member.
  5. Disqualify faculty if there is no other means with which to resolve conflict.


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