1.    What is commercial support?

Commercial support is a financial or in-kind contribution given by a commercial interest, which is used to pay all or part of the costs of a CME activity. Commercial support is typically provided as an educational grant.

A “commercial interest” is any entity producing, marketing, re-selling or distributing health care goods or services consumed by or used on patients with the exemption of 501.C non-profit organizations, government organizations, non-health care related companies, liability insurance providers, health insurance providers, group medical practices, for-profit hospitals, for-profit rehabilitation centers, and for-profit nursing homes.

 2.    What is an exhibit fee?

An exhibit fee is payment for the rental or use of promotional space.  It is a business transaction distinct from receipt of commercial support.  Any product that contains advertising or promotional opportunities must be assigned to the exhibit hall and paid for through the exhibit fee.

 3.    May industry representatives attend the education portion of a CME activity?

Yes.  Exhibitors may attend the educational portion of the CME activity at no additional cost.  They must agree to wear a UCSF CME issued name badge and refrain from marketing products in the teaching venues.
Non-exhibitor industry representatives may attend by paying the registration fee.  This includes industry representatives whose company has provided commercial support.  Complimentary attendance cannot be linked to offering commercial support.  See Standard for Commercial Support 4.1.

4.     Is it acceptable to say, “In exchange for $5,000 of commercial support for our CME activity you will get an acknowledgment, 2 complimentary enrollments, and a 4 x 4 sq. ft. booth in the exhibit hall?

No.  In this scenario the commercial interest is granting commercial support and also receiving promotional and sales opportunities.  Opportunities for advertising and promotion are being purchased with the commercial support and have become a condition of the support. Standard for Commercial Support 4.1 states that arrangements for commercial exhibits cannot influence planning or interfere with a presentation, nor can they be a condition of the provision of commercial support for CME activities. A provider would be out of compliance if it offered any benefits associated with the receipt of commercial support.

 5.    Is it permissible for exhibitors to distribute product information, pens, pads, small items at CME activities?

Yes, as long as the distribution is done from the exhibit table and the process is voluntary, i.e., the learner has the option of taking the item or not.

 6.    What industry information, if any, may be included in program books, syllabi or other hand-out materials?

The Standards for Commercial Support require that all commercial support be acknowledged.  See Standards for Commercial Support 6.3.  For UCSF CME the standard way to acknowledge support is to include a page in the syllabus detailing the names of the companies who have provided commercial supporters. This is necessary to meet the requirements for acknowledgment of commercial support. Exhibitor company names must be included in the acknowledgments section of the syllabus, under the heading “Exhibitors”.

 7.    Is product advertising allowed in program books, syllabi or other hand-out materials?

No.  Standards for Commercial Support 4.2 and 6.4 prohibit the promotion of any product in or during CME activities or as part of the acknowledgment of commercial support. This means no advertising of any kind may be included in the presentations or in the CME materials or in the disclosure of commercial support.  In addition, UCSF CME prohibits company logos in any CME materials, including brochures, flyers or web announcements.  Presenters must use the generic name for therapeutic agents.  Trade names may be used in conjunction with generic names as long as all trade names are included. See Standard for Commercial Support 5.2.

8.    May industry pay directly for any aspect of a CME activity?

No.  All industry support of an activity must be provided through commercial support or exhibit fees and given with the full knowledge of the CME provider.  See Standards for Commercial Support 3.9 and 3.3 respectively.