A commercial interest is any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients. The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical education (ACCME) does not consider providers of clinical service directly to patients to be commercial interests.

When an individual’s interests are aligned with those of a commercial interest the interests of the individual are in ‘conflict’ with the interests of the public. The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical education (ACCME) considers financial relationships to create actual conflicts of interest in CME when individuals have both a financial relationship with a commercial interest and the opportunity to affect the content of CME about the products or services of that commercial interest. The potential for maintaining or increasing the value of the financial relationship with the commercial interest creates an incentive to influence the content of the CME = an incentive to insert commercial bias.

Financial relationships are those relationships in which the individual benefits by receiving a salary, royalty, intellectual property rights, consulting fee, honoraria, ownership interest (e.g., stocks, stock options or other ownership interest, excluding diversified mutual funds), or other financial benefit. Financial benefits are usually associated with roles such as employment, management position, independent contractor (including contracted research), consulting, speaking and teaching, membership on advisory committees or review panels, board membership and other activities from which remuneration is received, or expected. The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical education (ACCME) considers relationships of the person involved in the CME activity to include financial relationships of a spouse or partner.