Corporate Relations Committee Update
Todd J. Albert, MD
Corporate Relations Committee Chair
Although a relatively small group, the Corporate Relations Committee has the important charge of monitoring and guiding the relationship with medical device companies that support SRS through grants, exhibits and marketing. Committee members include the Presidential Line, Treasurer and selected regional representatives to help identify and work with “local” companies.
Funds received from those companies, including grants, exhibits and marketing, make up a little over 40% of the total annual income for SRS. Some are directed toward research and some provide fellowship opportunities to help younger spine surgeons around the world increase their knowledge and make important connections with senior surgeons. They also support scholarships for residents or fellows to attend the Annual Meeting or IMAST. In addition, industry funds offset some of the costs for SRS meetings and courses which allow us to maintain lower registration fees than would otherwise be possible, and to provide regional education.
One of the Committee’s jobs is to work with staff on opportunities and policies that will hopefully be good for both SRS and the companies, but adhere to Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), AdvaMed (US device industry association), EucoMed (European device industry association) and general ethical guidelines. This can range from finding appropriate but appreciated ways to acknowledge supporting companies to developing and enforcing policies related to exhibits and hospitality rooms at SRS meetings. Companies receive credit for grants, exhibits and marketing dollars that allow them to be recognized by SRS at different levels, from Bronze to Double Diamond.
In recent years, members of the Presidential Line have made it a practice to meet with high-level representatives of our Diamond and Double Diamond partners. Those meetings provide an opportunity to present new activities or initiatives, discuss priorities or resolve any issues. More importantly, they are a forum for surgeons and industry to partner in identifying challenges to patient care and potential solutions, whether through advocacy, education or research.
Just as the surgeon-company relationship is important for the development of improved tools and devices, a transparent, ethical relationship between SRS and industry is important in helping with a shared goal of improved patient care around the world. With that in mind, I’d like to once again thank our Double Diamond supporters, DePuy Synthes, Globus Medical Inc., Stryker/K2M, Medtronic and NuVasive; Diamond supporter Zimmer Biomet and Gold level companies Medicrea and OrthoPediatrics, as well as all of the other companies that have provided any level of support through the year.
A special thank you to those supporters who have gone above and beyond their current support level to help SRS fund the Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis II project. Globus Medical Inc., Stryker, Medtronic, and NuVasive have been instrumental in continuing the funding of this groundbreaking study.
Chair: Todd J. Albert Committee: Kenneth MC Cheung, Past Chair; J. Abbott Byrd, Treasurer; Peter O. Newton, President; Paul D. Sponseller, President Elect; Muharrem Yazici, Vice President; Hee-Kit Wong, Asia Pacific Representative; Ahmet Alanay, European Representative; Juan Uribe, North American Representative