Seal of approval: AAD's sun protection stamp to continue

June 1, 2008

The American Academy of Dermatology's board of directors met Saturday, April 26, 2008, in Chicago, to discuss, among other items, concerns raised by some members and by the AAD advisory board about the AAD's Seal of Recognition program.

Key Points

The directors met April 26 to discuss, among other items, concerns raised by some members and the AAD advisory board about the program, which grants manufacturers the right to display - for a fee - a distinct AAD logo on sun-protection products that meet certain evidence-based criteria.

"We also considered the public health benefits of the program," Dr. Hanke says, "and the conclusions were these:

"There is no conflict of interest for the academy, because all the program fees will be used to cover program costs, and, if there is any surplus, it will be used solely for new or expanded skin cancer awareness education efforts, which are above and beyond what the academy is currently doing," he says.

Longtime opponent A. Bernard Ackerman, M.D., director emeritus of the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology in New York, who received the "Master Dermatologist Award" from the AAD in 2004, remains vocally opposed to the program, calling it unethical and a conflict of interest.

"The decision of the board ... to continue (and expand) the Seal of Recognition program, flying in the face as it does of the strong opposition and recommendation of its own advisory board, reveals, undeniably and incontrovertibly, how tone deaf is that board," Dr. Ackerman says.

The academy announced in October 2006 that it had launched the Seal of Recognition program, under which it charges companies $5,000 for an application and $10,000 annually, upon application approval, for the right to display the seal logo on approved sun-protection products.

Academy members who back the program say it will greatly enhance the organization's skin cancer education efforts.