Medscape (12/10/18) Terry, Ken
Four internists have filed a class-action antitrust suit against the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) on behalf of more than 100,000 internal medicine physicians, charging that the organization unlawfully links its initial board certification to maintenance of certification (MOC) exams that diplomates must pay for to hold on to their certification. "To drive sales of MOC and to monopolize the market for MOC, ABIM has forced physicians to purchase maintenance of certification, charged inflated monopoly prices for MOC, and thwarted competition in the market for maintenance of certification," states the complaint. The plaintiffs allege that the MOC program has enabled ABIM to collect "hundreds of millions of dollars in related fees from internists," mainly for the purpose of generating revenue. The internists also accuse ABIM of quashing competition from organizations that offer "cheaper, less burdensome, and more innovative forms of MOC desired by internists." The plaintiffs cited the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons, a group set up to provide a competing MOC product to internists as well as physicians in other specialties, as one such organization. In response, ABIM issued a statement asserting that "ABIM leadership, volunteers, and staff have spent the last several years working with broad segments of the diverse internal medicine community to make ABIM's program better and enhance the value of ABIM certification to diplomates and the public."