The bottom line, according to three pharma panelists, is don't do it. Don't let your requests for support mingle educational grants with charitable contributions and exhibits. Tease out the different requests and send them to the appropriate department. The commercial supporter will appreciate not having to try to figure out what exactly it is you're asking for, and you may just have a better chance of getting it.
They provided a fairly long list of cases of the types of bundled requests they've seen, a few of which caused some laughs and head-shaking among the audience because of their absurdity. And yet these are requests that they've gotten, so even in this day and age, some providers are confusing education and promotion and charitable contributions in their requests.
They're doing a followup session this afternoon (F54 for those who are here) outlining the preliminary results of a PACME and medical association/society section collaborative study group's efforts to come up with some best practices and at least a common vocabulary to help reduce the confusion. If you can't make it to the session, do go download the handout with the results and give them your feedback.
This session was held at the same time as the ACCME's Accreditation Tools and Tips session, which is always a huge draw, and managed to have a pretty full room, which I took to be a sign that there's a pretty high interest in improving this aspect of the granting process.