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SRS Position Statement
Advocacy Committee Position on Pediatric Spinal Devices
Any support from industry should be consistent with the mission of the Scoliosis Research Society. We must not lose sight that our primary professional and ethical responsibilities are to provide competent, compassionate care and patient advocacy. Ultimately, our patients should benefit from any sponsorship agreement.
The focus for support from industry should be to foster research and education, and should comply with the following guidelines:
- Sponsorship will be directed to the education and research programs of the SRS.
- Sponsorship should be free of advertising or product information.
- Sponsorship for educational programs should be free of conditions that limit the academic interests of the SRS or puts the society in a position of conflict of interest. Such conditions could affect: the allocation of funds, educational content and the choice faculty for courses. These issues should unconditionally be the prerogative of the board of the SRS or it's delegate.
- Ideally, the support should go to CME accredited courses, unrestricted research funding, scholarships or traveling fellowships.
- With support for a course, CME accredited or otherwise, funds can be allocated to the costs of running the course including the cost of the venue, audiovisual support, programs and educational handouts. Honoraria can be supported where appropriate to cover outside and non-member faculty.
- Requiring more discretion is the sponsorship of social events attached to an educational event or the annual meeting. Supporting theatre tickets or golf outings are particularly troublesome. **
- The SRS will maintain full control in determining the types of sponsorship, the discretion, and the direction of the sponsored event or service. The SRS must maintain the right to discontinue a sponsorship agreement when there is a divergence from these guidelines or a conflict of interest between the sponsor and the SRS.
- In the case of research support, the funding should be unrestricted and remain under control of the SRS.
- Funds should not be applied to research that can be identified as a possible endorsement of a company or it's products. Funding research that is directed towards broad conceptual issues where no conflict exists, such as etiology, can be accepted and encouraged.
- All support from industry should be openly and fully disclosed.
- A statement of appreciation can accompany recognition of support for the research and education programs of the Scoliosis Research Society.
- The recognition can be displayed in prominent places including; the podium, programs or in the exhibit area with discrete signage. Further the company's name can be applied to a list that recognizes all the industrial support for the event.
- With the recognition, the company's logo can be displayed but neither advertising, nor company slogans should be permitted.
- It should be clear, that sponsorship does not, in any way, imply an endorsement of the company by the SRS.
- The SRS must maintain a clear separation between recognition of sponsorship and the educational content, editorial process and the delivery of the educational information, including the choice of faculty, course marketing and handouts.
- The SRS should maintain the control of all of the above issues.
Issues not Clearly Defined
When there is difficulty in determining whether or not support is in compliance with SRS guidelines, the board can refer the matter to the Advocacy Committee for further study.
Industry's position with this issue appears to be similar.