As CME funding shifts from industry, others foot the bill

Drug- and device-makers’ financial support for continuing medical education fell for the third straight year in 2010, reaching its lowest level since 2002.

With industry support falling to $830 million — 31% lower than the high-water mark of $1.2 billion in 2007 — CME providers are relying more heavily on the fees they charge physicians. Those fees are $20 to $50 per credit hour. Annual CME requirements range from 15 to 50 credit hours, depending on the state.

Payments from doctors, hospitals, medical schools and other sources rose 9% from 2009 to 2010 and now account for more than half of accredited CME providers’ revenue. Commercial support made up 37% of the $2.2 billion in 2010 CME funding, down from 47% in 2007, according to data released in August by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.

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