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Code of Ethics


In June 2001, four CME professionals founded the North American Association of Medical Education and Communication Companies, Inc. (NAMEC) as a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organization; in October of that year, they held its inaugural meeting. These individuals served as the initial NAMEC Board of Directors, and they established the following organizational mission and goals:

The mission of NAMEC is to represent, advocate for, and educate its members—medical education companies (MECs) and the persons who work for them.

The goals of the association are to:

    • Serve as a forum for discussion of issues, problems, and opportunities relevant to MECs
    • Strengthen relationships among MECs, other types of CME providers, and commercial supporters
    • Host educational activities dedicated specifically to the needs of NAMEC members
    • Publish papers and statements that support the continuing professional activities produced by MECs
    • Represent MECs to the media and other outside organizations
    • Examine ways to elevate the best practices of MECs
    • Create a mechanism for dialogue among representatives of various accredited and non-accredited MECs

The organization also released the following statement:

NAMEC supports the ACCME Essential Areas, Policies and Standards for Commercial Support; the AMA Ethical Opinion on Gifts to Physicians; the AdvaMed Code of Ethics for Interactions with Health Care Professionals; the PhRMA Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals; and relevant governmental guidelines and encourages its members to conduct their business in ways that are consistent with these guidelines.

NAMEC still holds firm to these beliefs.

Yet the years since 2001 have been a time of transformation, and the CME community has experienced numerous changes. Many of these have been regulatory; some, philosophical; others, operational. It has been a time of adjustment, a time of reform, and, often, a time of fervent dispute.

Indeed, it has been a time of revolution.

And, as we have witnessed this revolution, we have witnessed, too, the evolution of an organization. NAMEC has emerged from an untested youth to a vibrant maturity and has established itself as a leading advocate for the advancement of CME. It has partnered with other organizations to secure the integrity of an industry, and it has acted unaccompanied to safeguard the rights of its constituents.

In keeping with its role as an advocate for honor in both thought and action, NAMEC wishes to express its belief in the integrity of MECs and the CME enterprise by stating the following Code of Ethics.

NAMEC Code of Ethics

NAMEC, as the leading advocate for MECs and a long-time activist of the advancement of ethical conduct within the CME industry, establishes the following Code of Ethics as an expression of its organizational ideals. NAMEC pledges itself to abide by the principles articulated herein, and it encourages its members, and all stakeholders in the CME Enterprise, to act in a similar manner:

General principle

    • Approach all issues that affect our industry with an open mind, listening respectfully to the opinions of colleagues, and making decisions based on evidence and in the best interest of the CME Enterprise, patients, and the public

Enhancing clinical practice and patient health

    • Recognize that MECs are an integral part of the health care system, providing quality education to thousands of clinicians each year, ultimately affecting millions of patients, and act responsibly as a member of this vital and dynamic provider group
    • Pursue and develop educational interventions based on patient need and scientific evidence, rather than economic gain, consistently striving for the advancement of patient care and population health
    • Design educational activities based on adult learning principles to address gaps in clinician knowledge and performance

Resolving conflict and preventing bias

    • Oppose bias in all its forms: from commercial entities, from those who would silence the free expression of ideas within the CME Enterprise, and from those who would make certified education the realm of their own institutional interest without regard to the demonstrated performance of other sources and provider types
    • Ensure that all aspects of continuing education activities are free of bias and independent of commercial influence
    • Monitor the existence of bias in all certified CME activities and act to eliminate it
    • Educate faculty and colleagues to more effectively identify, disclose, and resolve conflicts of interest
    • Cooperate with regulatory and governmental bodies to ensure elimination of bias and commercial influence

Funding, financial management, and compliance

    • Appropriately disclose and manage all commercial support related to educational activities
    • Seek alternative funding sources, including support from multiple grantors and non-traditional grantors
    • Compensate faculty at fair market value
    • Seek support in an ethical manner, ensuring the separation of education from promotion
    • Budget activities at fair market value
    • Obey all federal and state laws in the development and execution of continuing education activities

Partnership in the CME Enterprise

    • Actively engage in and contribute to the CME enterprise through attendance, publication, volunteerism, and networking
    • Recognize and value the worth of certified activities based upon their own merits, without regard to their development by universities, specialty societies, MECs, hospitals, or other provider groups, and without regard to provider tax status
    • Advocate for the dissemination of accreditation data by provider type in order to cultivate cooperation and mutual respect between provider groups
    • Extend to our colleagues within the CME Enterprise the courtesy and respect to which they are naturally entitled, and, to require of them the same
    • Seek collaboration with organizations that share the values and ethical behavior recommended above

It is NAMEC’s sincere wish and desired intent that the organizational values elaborated above will serve as inspiration to advance the ethical disposition not only of its members, but of all CME professionals and their institutions. We believe that this can best be achieved through public acknowledgment of our principles, frank discussion of the challenges we face, and a firm commitment to the integrity of our endeavors.

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