Declaration of Interest Policy
The policy was approved by the ESMO Executive Board on 24 September 2011 and came into effect on 1 January 2012 (revised end of 2015). It was developed and will be supervised by the ESMO Audit Committee.
Objectives of the Policy
- The policy establishes standards/principles of conduct for minimising and managing potential conflicts of interests for ESMO officers involved in scientific activities, development of scientific and medical content including Congress and educational events and products, publications, guidelines, etc.
- Board, Faculty, Working Groups, Committees and Task Forces are high-level discussion fora to deliberate and create consensus on key medical issues within the oncology field. It is fundamental for ESMO to be, and to be perceived, as an independent, impartial association with a clear and unambiguous policy on Declaration of Interests.
- There is also a general duty for all ESMO representatives, including members of the ESMO leadership, senior staff and all experts having an active role in ESMO activities, to disclose at the earliest possible stage and at regular intervals any financial or other interests they may have in any relationship as determined by this policy between ESMO and an external body. Conflicts of interests may arise when an ESMO officer's personal, business, occupational or professional interests conflict with those of ESMO. The objective of the policy is to ensure best practice by ensuring that individuals covered by this policy make decisions free from undue influence or bias and to document such situations.
- There is nothing specific under Swiss law in relation to Declarations of Interests, apart from Data Protection (i.e., Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection - FADP) and general duties of care for Board Members of Associations. The ESMO bylaws state that the officers of the Society are expected to act on a voluntary basis for each committee on which they serve.
ESMO officers included in the policy
- All Executive Board members of ESMO
- All officers with leading and organising functions (e.g., as chairs, vice chairs and members of ESMO Committees, Working Groups, Task Forces, Faculty etc.)
- All ESMO Guidelines and Annals of Oncology editors
- All other experts having an active role in ESMO activities in various functions (e.g., as authors, reviewers, speakers, contributors etc.)
- Senior staff members (ESMO CEO, COO, CMO, line managers)
Declaration of Interests procedures
- ESMO officers, as defined above, are required to disclose the nature and extent of any existing or potential conflict of interests, real or apparent, when they undertake an ESMO function.
- ESMO provides a dedicated online tool in the myESMO section of the ESMO website, where each ESMO officer and senior staff member can access their own individual, password-protected Declaration of Interests online form at any time and enter and update their related information at least for the past twelve months.
- ESMO officers can also convert their personal Declaration of Interests online form into text format and export it for use for other purposes, for example, when completing Declaration of Interests forms required for scientific manuscript or abstract submissions, for CME accreditation forms, for participation in non-ESMO expert advisory committees etc.
- The persons covered by the policy are asked to carefully read the policy, complete the online form and update it at least once a year. The interests to be declared are specified below. If you are not sure what to declare, please contact the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or the Financial Manager for confidential guidance.
- All completed online forms. Records will be saved in a centralised ESMO Declaration of Interests register and maintained for the period of the declarant’s ESMO officership and 2 years beyond.
- The Declaration of Interests register will be continuously monitored and evaluated by authorised internal and external experts appointed by the ESMO Executive Board. The collected Declaration of Interests information will not be disclosed to the public.
- To ensure compliance with this policy and with the additional standards and rules outlined in its Code of Conduct, ESMO has adopted a Reporting Policy that also addresses Conflict of Interests-related issues.
- Non-compliance with this Policy or false declaration will be pursued and may jeopardise an individual’s participation in ESMO activities and lead to sanctions such as termination of eligibility to participate in some or all ESMO activities or termination of ESMO membership.
Interests to be declared
The following interests have to be declared, always covering at least the past twelve months:
- Personal financial interests (€500 - €20’000 p. a.; €20’000 - €50’000 p. a.; >€50’000 p. a.)
- Company leadership role, employment relationship or ownership interest (incl. pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics, medical technology, medical education and research companies)
- Consulting and advisory services, speaking or writing engagements, public presentations
- Direct research support to the responsible project lead (e.g., Principal Investigator)
- Licensing fees or royalties associated with Intellectual Property (IP) interests
- Institutional financial interests(€10’000 - €50’000 p. a.; €50’000 - €250’000 p. a.; >€250’000 p. a.)
- Financial support for clinical trials or contracted research (falling within declarant’s area of responsibility or involvement, for example, if declarant is the head of the department or unit that has received financial benefits)
- Non-financial interests
- Senior leadership roles in other medical societies, research groups, foundations, political pressure groups, etc.
- Involvement or advisory role with, or membership of, medical, pharmaceutical, healthcare science, health policy/communication and similar activities organizations/foundations - or non-remunerated Principal Investigator function in clinical trial or project lead
- Membership of, or affiliation with, political/pressure groups or associations active in the field of oncology
- Non-remunerated leadership role in companies (incl. pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics, medical technology, medical education and research companies)
Declaration of Interests for scientific publishing, Annals of Oncology and educational events
There are specific ESMO areas of activity where separate Declaration of Interests-related rules and procedures apply. For example, Annals of Oncology (Oxford University Press) has its own Disclosure Policy and set of related requirements and the UEMS European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education – EACCME® has its own Conflict of Interests disclosure form for scientific/organising committee members that must be completed and made available in printed form or on the website of the organiser of the Live Educational Event.
Where appropriate, separate registers of Declarations of Interests will be maintained and reviewed annually by the Audit Committee and a report on compliance will be made to the Executive Board of ESMO.