How and why we work with industry
The Allergy Academy aims to provide top-quality evidence-based education to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with allergic disease.
High quality medical education should be as open and accessible as possible. Frontline clinicians and health care professionals have little flexibility in their work commitments and frequently cover staffing shortfalls within the NHS at short notice. The majority have restricted and reducing (or even absent) study budgets to support their own choice of educational events.
Running a high-quality educational institute requires the time and talent of NHS clinicians to speak, the hiring of venues, marketing of events, administration and ethical governance of its processes. Therefore, running the Academy requires considerable planning and inevitable costs.
We work with industry sponsors to reduce the costs that our delegates are charged for attending and to widen availability of training across the breadth of medical professionals. The Academy is a non-profit making organisation and any surplus is used to support further educational activities.
Whilst we are completely open about our source of funding, we recognise that the relationship between our team and sponsoring companies must be carefully managed. Bias may arise through vested interests or unconscious bias, which risk impacting the educational content and experience. We therefore actively manage our relationships with industry in a number of ways. Our sponsors contribute to the Academy in the form of 'unrestricted grants', which means that commercial representatives do not have any editorial control over the educational content of Allergy Academy events. We work conscientiously within our Allergy Academy Code of Conduct for Working with the Commercial Sector. We fully comply with the code of conduct published by the ‘Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry’ to guide interaction between healthcare services and industry (www.abpi.org.uk/about-us/resources/publications-library/code-guidance).
The main principles guiding our work are as follows:
- Industry partners have no editorial input into the content of the education, the choice of speakers or topics.
- All speakers are required to declare potential conflicts of interest to delegates prior to speaking.
- Promotional activities are only allowed in the separate exhibition areas during refreshment breaks.
- Delegates are encouraged to make their own decision as to whether to engage with the sponsors during the refreshment breaks and use their own clinical and scientific judgement to evaluate any evidence presented to them.
- At the end of each event, delegates are asked about whether they perceive there to have been any bias and these data are reviewed after each event.
The Allergy Academy has always been open and transparent about its funding support to facilitate high quality education at low cost to our attending delegates. We are very grateful for our sponsors' support, without which our educational platform would not be thriving. This allows us to be proud of our providing high quality education to help support better care for patients.