On January 14 of this year, the Accreditation Council on Continuing
Medical Education (ACCME) released a draft of proposed new and stronger standards
for the commercial support of continuing medical education (CME)1 and
requested comments from the medical community. The following month, the Washington
Legal Foundation (WLF), a legal think tank, issued a highly critical commentary,2 in which it recommended that the ACCME withdraw its
proposals because they were unnecessary, counterproductive, and possibly even
illegal. Both the proposed new ACCME standards and the WLF critique raise
issues of the greatest importance to our profession with respect to the growing
intrusion of the pharmaceutical companies into medical education. These issues
need to be discussed and clearly understood before the ACCME issues its final
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