The Coalition for Life-Course Immunisation (CLCI) welcomes corporate donations, grants and sponsorship to fund projects and to enable CLCI to grow and develop. This document outlines CLCI’s policy on commercial funding and provides a set of principles that will be used to guide funding decisions. It does not set out to provide a definition of every possible funding opportunity. This policy will apply to potential relations with any company from any industry
This policy draws upon the policy used by the European Institute of Women’s health (EIWH), a founding member of CLCI. The EIWH policy is in turn based on the UK Breast Cancer policy, EIWH’s Policy Paper on Funding Arrangements with Commercial/Corporate Organisations, EURORDIS’s policy on corporate sponsorship and seeks to ensure conformance with England & Wales Charity Commission advice on Trustee decision making.
Funding: Guiding Principles
CLCI will foster dialogue and establish collaborative partnerships with companies whose commercial decisions affect the health and welfare of European citizens.
Patient organisation-pharmaceutical company collaborations are sometimes viewed with scepticism by decision-makers and the general public. Some believe that pharmaceutical companies coerce patient organisations into conforming to their marketing agenda. In order to protect the CLCI’s reputation and demonstrate that CLCI does not conform to commercial agendas, the organisation will adhere to the following principles when accepting or soliciting project funding, sponsorship, grants or donations from commercial companies:
- CLCI will maintain an open and transparent relationship with all commercial partners.
- Before accepting funding from a commercial company, the Board of Trustees must be satisfied that:
- The donation grant or sponsorship will support the achievement of the charitable objects of the CLCI.
- Any potential risk to CLCI’s reputation from the source of funding if it is perceived by the public that the CIO is acting as a lobbying group for the source of funding has been carefully considered by the Trustees as part of the decision whether or not to accept the funds.
- CLCI will review as a matter of course all potential commercial partners corporate governance policies and their reputation in working with patient organisations. If there is any cause for concern CLCI will reject the funds.
- CLCI will not endorse or promote individual products or services.
- A company’s support will be acknowledged in an appropriate way following discussions with the company concerned.
- CLCI will sign a memorandum of agreement with all commercial partners outlining each partner’s contributions and responsibilities.
- The commercial partner must agree to abide with the guidelines outlined in Appendix 1.
- If during the course of a project for which funding has been agreed, the sponsoring company makes any attempt to coerce the CLCI to conform to its marketing agenda, either explicitly or implicitly, or does not conform to the memorandum of agreement, CLCI will reject the funds and/or terminate an on-going project
- CLCI will solicit funding from more than one company from the same industry wherever possible.
Purpose of Policy
- To ensure that CLCI has a consistent and transparent approach to working with commercial companies.
- To ensure the CLCI maintains and is seen to maintain its independence from commercial influences.
- To clarify the position of CLCI to its member organisations, commercial companies and the wider public.
- To provide clear direction for the CLCI Board of Trustees, enabling them to instigate relations with commercial companies with the full backing of the CLCI but without the constant need for approval from its members. CLCI Board of Trustee Members are expected to adhere to the policy. The policy may be revised over time as circumstances demand.
There are three different funding categories, including:
Where CLCI will establish a collaborative partnership with a commercial company to undertake a project relating to an issue of mutual interest. The following features will apply to this relationship:
- CLCI will maintain editorial control over all materials produced in connection with the project.
- Use of the sponsor’s logo will be agreed in negotiations with the company.
- CLCI will not endorse or promote individual products or services
- The wording and/or position of the acknowledgement will be agreed in negotiations with the company.
Single item/event Sponsorship
Where a company funds a single activity such as a meeting or newsletter. In this case the following will apply:
- The company is not involved in the activity for which the sponsorship is granted
- CLCI maintains editorial control over all materials or meeting programmes
- CLCI will not endorse or promote the sponsor’s products or services.
- The wording and/or position of the acknowledgement are part of the sponsorship negotiations with the company along with the use of the sponsor’s logo
Unrestricted grants are defined where all of the following apply:
- The company has no involvement in the project for which the grant is used.
- The grant will be acknowledged.
- The company’s logo is not used and CLCI controls the wording and position of the credit.
Companies may offer financial donations and in-kind support to CLCI. However, there is no obligation on the part of CLCI to acknowledge the support, although CLCI may decide to do so.
Guidelines for Commercial companies on working with CLCI
The CLCI will not embark upon or continue with any sponsorship, grant making or collaborative venture that might damage its reputation or result in the dissemination of biased and inaccurate information to the public. Therefore, when working with CLCI, commercial companies should adhere to the following guidelines:
- The CLCI must be consulted whenever and wherever its name is used, particularly in external communications. Approval must be sought for any copy produced which refers to a CLCI initiative supported by a commercial organisation.
- At no time can the CLCI’s logo be used without express written permission.
- At no time can press releases be issued which refer to CLCI without prior approval from the Board of Trustees. Suggested quotes can be prepared but must always be agreed by the Board.
- The CLCI retains a veto over all materials produced in connection with an initiative. Adequate approval time needs to be allowed for this as it may require approval from one or more Trustees or require feedback from one or more of the CLCI specialized committees.
- Where more than one branded version of a product exists, any materials produced, as part of an initiative will use either the scientific name or several different brand names. It may not be practicable to mention every brand at every stage in a publication but overall the effect will be one of impartiality.
- The CLCI is happy to work with PR/Advertising and Marketing agencies of commercial organisations when a project is being planned but a representative from the company should always be present as well as the agency.
- One point of contact should be identified within the company and/or agency to liaise with the appropriate opposite number in the CLCI. Clear lines of communication need to be established at an early stage with respective responsibilities and authorities agreed to ensure smooth progress with a project.