Policy: Funding Arrangements with Commercial Companies


The European Institute of Womens Health (EIWH) welcomes corporate donations, grants and sponsorship to fund certain projects and to enable the EIWH to grow and develop. This document outlines EIWH’s policy on commercial funding and provides a set of principles that will be used to guide EIWH’s decisions. It does not set out to provide a definition of every possible funding opportunity. This policy will apply to all potential relations with any company from any industry

This policy is based on the UK Breast Cancer, EIWH’s Policy Paper on Funding Arrangements with Commercial/Corporate Organisations, EURORDIS’s policy on corporate sponsorship and the recommendations of the UK’s Long Term Medical Conditions Alliance.

Purpose of Policy

To ensure that EIWH has a consistent and transparent approach to working with commercial companies.

To ensure the EIWH maintains its independence from commercial influences.

To clarify EIWH’s position to its member organisations, commercial companies and the wider public.

To provide clear direction for the EIWH’s Board Members, enabling them to instigate relations with commercial companies with the full backing of the EIWH, but without the constant need for approval from its members.
EIWH Board Members are expected to adhere to the policy that may be revised over time as circumstances demand.

Funding Categories

There are three different funding categories, including:

Project funding

Project funding – where the EIWH 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:

EIWH maintains editorial control over all materials produced in connection with the project.

The company will have representation on the project steering committee.

The sponsor’s logo is used

EIWH 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.

EIWH and the commercial partners will both benefit from the relationship.

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Sponsorship – where a company funds a single activity such as a meeting or newsletter. In this case the following will apply:
The company has no involvement in the activity for which the sponsorship is granted

EIWH maintains editorial control over all materials or meeting programmes

EIWH will not endorse or promote the sponsor’s products or services.

The sponsor’s logo is used.

The wording and/or position of the acknowledgement are part of the sponsorship negotiations with the company.

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Unrestricted grants

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.

The EIWH controls the wording and position of the credit.

Company donations

Companies may offer financial donations and in-kind support to the EIWH, however there is no obligation on the part of the EIWH to acknowledge the support, although EIWH may decide to do so.

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Funding: Guiding Principles

EIWH will foster dialogue and establish collaborative partnerships with companies whose commercial decisions affect the health and welfare and quality of life of millions of European patients/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 EIWH’s reputation and demonstrate that EIWH does not conform to commercial agendas, the EIWH will adhere to the following principles when accepting or soliciting or accepting project funding, sponsorship, grants or donations from commercial companies:

EIWH will maintain an open and transparent relationship with all commercial partners.

Before accepting funding from a commercial company the Board must be satisfied that:

There are strong grounds for believing the donation; grant or sponsorship will result in benefit to the EIWH and its members

.No adverse publicity will result from accepting the funds.

EIWH will closely review all potential commercial partners corporate governance policies, their reputation in working with patient organisations and their environmental policies and practices. If there is any cause for concern, funds will either be accepted on a ‘no acknowledgement’ basis or the EIWH will reject the funds.

EIWH will not knowingly accept any type of funding from a company that produces or sells tobacco brands, or receives funding from their sales.

EIWH 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.

EIWH will sign a memorandum of agreement with all commercial partners outlining each partner’s contribution and responsibilities.

The commercial partner must agree to abide with the guidelines outlined in Appendix 1.

If a company makes any attempt to coerce the EIWH to conform to its marketing agenda, either explicitly or implicitly, or does not conform to the memorandum of agreement, EIWH will reject the funds or terminate an on-going project.

Where possible, EIWH will solicit funding from consortia composed of two or more companies from the same industry.

Appendix 1 – Guidelines for Commercial companies

Guidelines for commercial companies on working with the EIWH

The EIWH 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 general public and cancer patients. Therefore, when working with the EIWH, commercial companies should adhere to the following guidelines:

1.The EIWH 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 EIWH initiative supported by a commercial organisation.

2.At no time can the EIWH’s logo be used without express written permission.

3.At no time can press releases be issued which refer to the EIWH without our prior approval. Likewise suggested quotes can be prepared but must always be agreed by the Board.

4.The EIWH 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 Board Members or require feedback from the EIWH Medical Advisory Committee.

5.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.

6.The EIWH is happy to work with PR/Advertising and Marketing agencies of commercial organisations once a project is underway. However in the first instance when a project is being planned or suggested the EIWH requires a representative from the company to be present as well as the agency.

7.One point of contact should be identified within the company and/or agency to liase with the appropriate opposite number in the EIWH. Clear lines of communication need to be established at an early stage with respective responsibilities and assignments agreed to ensure smooth progress with a project.

The EIWH is also a signatory to the Code of Practice between Patients Organisations(1) and the Healthcare Industry (2)

Patient organisations are defined as not-for profit organisations which are patient focused, and whereby patients and/or carers represent a majority of members in their governing bodies.

The healthcare industry is defined as commercial manufacturers of healthcare products, devices and services, including distributors and wholesalers.

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