According to data maintained by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Information (ACCME), in 2011 the percent of accredited CME revenue attributed to the pharmaceutical/medical device industry (i.e., grants, advertising, and exhibit fees) was 33.2% of total revenue received from all sources.

This is the lowest percentage attributed to commercial sources since ACCME began reporting these data in 1998 when the percent was 34.0%.

Refer to the infographic on left (find a full size view on my Pinterest page here).

These data refer to CME offered primarily to national or international audiences of physicians and other health care professionals by provider directly accredited by ACCME. It does not include data from state-accredited providers.

For the first time, the 2011 ACCME Annual Report Data features separate data sets about the CME delivered by ACCME-accredited providers and by state-accredited providers, offering an overview of the CME system at both the national and state levels.

Whereas the total commercial support for direct ACCME-accredited providers was $1.033 billion ($736 million in grants and $296 million in advertising and exhibit fees) in 2011, state-accredited providers received only $28.5 million from the drug industry ($16 million in grants and $12.6 million in advertising and exhibit fees).

As the last chart in the infographic shows, the trend in the percent of physicians opting for online CME continues to decrease. About the same number of physicians participated in ACCME-accredit CME programs in 2011 as in 2010 (approx. 11.4 million), but a lower percentage (37.8%) participated in online CME (not including live sessions and search learning). That compares to 40.1% in 2010 and a peak of 41.9% in 2009.

Why are fewer physicians participating in online CME activities? There were 25,000 online CME activities offered by ACCME-accredited providers in 2011 vs. 23,300 in 2012. The decline, therefore, cannot be attributed to fewer available activities.

UPDATE: Hat Tip to Mario Nacinovich (@nacinovich), Managing Partner, AXON, for pointing out to me that the CME numbers I quoted above should be bolstered after implementation of the FDA opioid safety plan (see “Drugmakers must pay for opioid continuing medical education programs for physicians“).

The FDA Blueprint for Prescriber Education for Extended-Release and Long-Acting Opioid Analgesics (find it attached to above article) calls for “education for prescribers of these medications, which will be provided through accredited continuing education (CE) activities supported by independent educational grants from ER/LA opioid analgesic companies.” Unfortunately, the training is voluntary and won’t begin until March 2013. The grants may or may not impact the 2012 ACCME data and reverse some of the trends noted above.