Guidelines for collaboration with Industry and Commercial organisations

European Vision and Eye Research Association (EVER) guidelines for collaboration with Industry and Commercial organisations in support of accredited Continuing Medical Education (CME) events.

Continuing Medical Education (CME) is now considered an important and essential ingredient of the professional sustenance of all medical personnel. It is part of their duty of care towards their patients. CME, either voluntary or mandatory, is incorporated into the health care systems of most countries.

The general guiding principles of Continuing Medical Education:

  1. The prime purpose of CME activity is to enhance patient care through proper, timely and up to date instruction of health care providers, across the board, from trainees to established consultants and academicians.
  2. All CME activity should begin by establishing the educational needs of the target audience, defining educational objectives and constructing a programme, the content and delivery of which should meet those needs and objectives.
  3. The instructors and CME material; be it verbal, printed or in electronic format; should be selected purely on the basis of professional standing and skill, quality and appropriateness for purpose respectively, completely free of any extraneous influence.
  4. The providers of CME should not assume appropriateness or quality of their programmes but rather ascertain this by proactively seeking feedback from the participants in the programme. Towards this end suitable feedback questionnaires should be designed and completed for each component of the programme.

The European Vision and Eye Research Association (EVER) is a major international provider of CME and as such abides by the above principles. Whilst it welcomes and encourages commercial support and industry participation in its endeavours, it lays down the following guidelines for such collaboration. These guidelines set out to uphold openness and transparency; maintain the highest standards and quality of teaching and research; clearly define and eliminate where possible, any adverse influence of conflict of interest and not least of all acknowledge and recognise its collaboration with commerce and industry, without which the delivery of CME would be severely restricted or curtailed.

The Annual Congress

  1. EVER will have ultimate responsibility for the planning, scheduling and organisation of CME programmes and selection of faculty members and invited guest speakers, without any influence whatsoever from supporting industrial or commercial organisations.
  2. All Faculty, be they invited guests or members of EVER regardless of their position within the organisation, must disclose to the EVER programme committee, any conflict of interest prior to formally accepting a place on the faculty of any CME activity, whether or not that interest relates to the subject matter of the specific activity or to any commercial organisation that may or may not be present as exhibitors at the specific meeting.
  3. EVER will accept monetary contributions from industry and commerce only as unrestricted grants, to expend as EVER deems fit, or as fees normally charged to exhibitors. The unrestricted nature of grants should be documented as such under terms and conditions of a signed agreement between EVER and the provider of the funds. All funds should be payable to EVER and not to any official or individual of EVER.
    • If the financial interest or commercial association or any relationship that can be construed as representing a conflict of interest relates to the subject matter of the faculty members presentation or handout, it must be declared at the commencement and the end of oral presentations and published on all poster presentations and abstracts. Where no proprietary interest exists, it should be specifically stated as such i.e an absence of proprietary interest may not be presumed, it must be stated.
    • The faculty member should present the subject matter in an objective manner, based on scientific evidence and refrain from voicing or publishing biased opinions in favour of or against any commercial product. The proprietary interests of any commercial supporter must not be advanced.
  4. Code of Practice for Industry and Commercial organisations (I & CO)
    • The activity of industry and commercial organisations during any EVER CME programme should be directed towards facilitating or enhancing that programme and not detracting from it. For example I & CO Representatives should not organise any activity involving attendees at a CME programme that clashes with the scientific sessions of the programme.
    • Sponsoring I & CO Representatives should display their product(s) and product(s) information only in areas designated and approved by the EVER organising committee. Any display or activity that can be construed as a direct link of a product(s) with a scientific session must be avoided.
    • I & CO Representatives should not engage in sales or promotional activities during scientific sessions or business meetings.
    • I & CO should not offer direct payment to CME programme organisers, participants or attendees as honoraria or to cover travel, accommodation or registration expenses. Such funds if made available should preferably be channelled through EVER. It is the responsibility of both the provider and recipient of such funds to inform EVER at the earliest opportunity of any such agreement or arrangement.
    • Scholarships or travel grants to medical students or trainees including residents and fellows, to travel to CME events is encouraged but the selection of such recipients should rest with EVER or the sponsoring host institution.
    • I & CO should not use the name, logo or seal of EVER on any promotional or advertising material without the prior approval of EVER.
    • I & CO support of the meeting through appropriate educational grants or exhibitor fees may be stated on promotional and advertising materials including in the programme booklet of the CME event. Moderators and chairpersons of Scientific sessions may also recognize and acknowledge such support by announcements during the session. Reference to such support should be to the industry or commercial organisation and not to any specific product(s).
    • I & CO should not reproduce in any format, proceedings of the scientific sessions without prior approval of EVER.
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