In 2011, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) issued a call for comment regarding the use of logos from commercial supporters of accredited CME programs. The proposal stated that CME providers could communicate the names of commercial supporters in text format only, and cannot include corporate logos or any mention or description of other units within the commercial interest corporate structure.
More recently, the ACCME issued a proposal that would amend the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support; specifically SCS 4.3 and 6.4. The proposal would prohibit educational materials that are part of an accredited CME activity, such as slides, abstracts or handouts from containing a corporate logo among other things. In addition, the proposal would prohibit the use of corporate logos when making required disclosures under the SCS.
In response to these proposals and amended changes, the CME Coalition recently created "Responsible Logo Use Guidelines" for CME providers. In announcing the guidelines, the Coalition stated its belief that "the use of corporate logos provides transparency and disclosure to learners on educational grants obtained from commercial interests (CI) in support of an educational activity." The CME Coalition proposes the following guidelines to help providers:
Accredited providers are responsible for ensuring the disclosure and acknowledgement of commercial support, including the appropriate use of corporate logos in activity materials.
- Disclosure of support from a CI through the use of a commercial supporter corporate logo must be accompanied by the provider's logo in the appropriately designated area of the activity materials.
- Disclosure of support from a CI including (or with) the use of a corporate logo should occur only once in the appropriate section of the activity materials (e.g. brochure, handout, printed piece, or digital medium). Providers may also elect to acknowledge commercial support elsewhere by listing the CI name without the accompanying corporate logo.
- CI corporate logos may not exceed the size of the provider's logo(s).
- To ensure that logos are not inadvertently over-emphasized due to layout or design features, providers should be consistent in appearance with the color used in the disclosure of commercial support section of the activity (e.g., if a print piece is 4-color then all logos should also be 4-color, if the print piece is in black and white then all logos need to be in black and white). Logos from commercial supporters will not supersede those of the providers.
- Acknowledgement of exhibitors using logos is permitted.
A list of organizations that have pledged to adopt these voluntary guidelines is available here. Authorized representatives may fill out a form on the CME Coalition website to add their organization to these voluntary guidelines.
MeetingsNet covered the new guidelines, quoting CME Coalition Senior Advisor Andrew Rosenberg: "The CME Coalition believes that the use of corporate logos provides transparency and disclosure to learners on educational grants obtained from corporate supporters in furtherance of an educational activity."