BAP Relationship With Industry
The BAP's policy on relations with industry and other organisations
The BAP is a learned society and registered charity that brings together groups from pre-clinical neuroscience, clinical psychiatry, and industry. (‘Industry’ here refers primarily to pharmaceutical companies, but also applies to other industries, e.g. device or equipment manufacturers). Our common interests lie in the improved understanding of psychiatric disorders and their treatments. BAP Council and its Officers are elected and are drawn primarily from academic settings and Council is an independent body, answerable to the membership of BAP (and operating within the rules of the Charities Commission). As such, it is important that the BAP has a clear policy on the relationships of its Council and Officers with industry and other external organisations, and how any potential conflicts are identified and dealt with.
This policy was reviewed and updated on the recommendation of the BAP Governance Panel in July 2016. It was agreed by BAP Council in November 2016. It will be reviewed annually.
Revenue to the BAP from industry
The BAP receives revenue from industry. It represents about 12% of total BAP income. Industry revenue is received via three routes:
- BAP accepts money from industry in the form of sponsored satellite symposia at the summer meeting. This funding allows the cost of attending the meeting for individual participants to be kept substantially lower than it could otherwise be. The positive consequences have been an internationally competitive programme, a high attendance including from young-career scientists and doctors in training, and enhancing the profile of the meeting in the respect that they bring in international speakers (who then enhance the rest of the meeting). The content of these satellites is not controlled by BAP. However, they are always scheduled outside the normal time table of the meeting, to ensure that they do not encroach on its main business. They are normally of a high scientific quality, and the number of satellites is limited, and made available on a first come-first served basis. Another corollary of this industrial support is a representation at the summer meeting from the interested companies, who also have exhibits. Where possible, exhibits are integrated into the common space where posters are presented and refreshments provided during coffee and tea breaks in order to integrate with the scientific content and enable interaction. Overall, the desirable balance between the activities provided by industrial symposia and the substance of the meeting is a dynamic one. This balance is kept under critical review by Council and by all members of the BAP. The objective is to ensure an ethos for the summer meeting which is driven by the identity of the BAP and not by that of the satellites.
- Our meetings are also supported indirectly by the funding of registration and/or accommodation expenses of participants by industry. It is inevitable that the first allegiance of those who attend under those circumstances could be to the industrial sponsor, rather than the meeting itself or the BAP. Currently, very few attendees come into this category. Were the balance to shift, it would have to be reviewed. As with the direct subsidies it is a matter that requires vigilance by Council and BAP members.
- The BAP also accepts money from industry for fellowships or prizes. These are always awarded by Council, and the funder has no say in this decision. Currently, only one BAP Prize is supported in this way.
Industrial sponsorship of, or support for, the development of BAP Guidelines (e.g. in the holding of consensus meetings) is no longer accepted. These are entirely funded by BAP.
Guidance for Council Members
Mature reflection will indicate that most if not all individuals in professional positions have potential conflicts of interest. By conflicts of interest we mean allegiances or hostilities to particular groups, organisations or interests, which may influence excessively one's judgements or actions. The issue is particularly sensitive when such interests are private and/or may result in personal gain.
Our expectation is that Council Members and Officers will always endeavour to recognise such interests and to act independently and in the greater interest of the BAP when giving their best judgements on matters of policy and procedure. It is also essential that Council Members and Officers are seen to exercise such independence, should their judgements be subject to public scrutiny.
To this end, Council Members and Officers are expected to disclose any actual or perceived conflicts of interest. These should be declared when standing for election to Council, and are then updated annually (retrospectively for the preceding year), and held as a document in the office, and available on the BAP website, open to scrutiny.
BAP members who work in industry are eligible to stand for election to Council, and Council may also include one or two co-opted members from industry. All industry members of Council are expected to adhere fully to the principles outlined in this policy, and to exclude themselves from any Council business where their employer could be seen to have a specific interest.
As guidance, the risks that all Council members and Officers should disclose include, but are not limited to, the following areas, and apply to the preceding three years:
- Where individuals have patents or inventions from which they may derive personal benefit in the area of psychopharmacology.
- Where there is ownership or part ownership of a company with interests in the area of psychopharmacology. This includes holding shares in one's own name, or those of dependent family members.
- Accepting a personal retainer from any company with an interest in psychopharmacology.
- Acting as a consultant to any company with an interest in psychopharmacology.
- Acting as an expert witness, either friendly or hostile, to any company with an interest in psychopharmacology.
- Holding a research grant (restricted or unrestricted) from any company with an interest in psychopharmacology.
- Membership of the speakers' bureau for any company.
- The acceptance of paid speaking engagements in, or chairing of, industry supported symposia. This includes satellite symposia or related activities during the annual meeting.
- The acceptance of travel or hospitality not related to a speaking engagement.
- Recruitment of patients to industry-sponsored studies.
All Members and Officers of Council are expected to declare their primary employment(s).
All speakers at BAP events, whether members of Council or not, are expected to declare their conflicts of interest at the start of each talk. This requirement also applies to speakers and chairs of satellite symposia.
Conflicts can exist other than with industry, for example with a voluntary organisation, a charity, a law firm, a government department, an investment company, etc. We expect Council members and Officers to adhere to the principles outlined here for all actual or perceived conflicts.
The same principles outlined here apply also to individuals employed by the BAP (i.e. the Executive Officer and other staff).