MAPS educational content should be presented in a neutral manner that does not “promote” a specific company, product, or service. This policy applies to all content whether generated by MAPS member companies or by vendors of goods and services that can be used by MAPS or any of its individual or institutional members.
A good general rule to follow for non-promotional content is:
The audience should be able to apply the learning to any situation, even those that do not include or require the use of your company/product/service.
Purpose: MAPS seeks to ensure quality content across all media types to provide value to MAPS members and the wider Medical Affairs community. The actuality or appearance of conflicts of interest (COI) or promotional intent by authors/contributors detracts from the substance of these materials. Thus, it is the purpose of this policy to ensure all contributors work in good faith to provide valuable education, information and insights without using MAPS content as a vehicle for self- or organizational promotion.
Promotional Materials: Promotional materials are those recommending a specific product or service either as a sole recommendation or as a clear leader in a list of product/service options. Promotional intent may be conveyed in written, visual, audio or any other media format.
- An Elevate article written with a solution provider co–author referencing the solution provider’s company/product/service beyond other options
- A Webinar or eLearning module in which presenters use company/product/service-branded video backgrounds
- A podcast in which a guest offers a case study demonstrating the superiority of his/her company’s specific product/service
Non-Promotional Materials: Non-promotional materials provide valuable educational content without recommending or seeming to recommend a specific product or service.
- An Elevate article written with a solution provider co-author that leverages the solution provider’s expertise to offer valuable, topic-relevant insights while including the company/product/service as an illustrative example among other options
- A Webinar in which presenters include their company titles in their introductions and first slides, but without company branding
- A podcast in which a guest describes his/her topic-relevant experience without using the discussion to drive interest in a company/product/service.
1. Disclosures regarding content submitted to MAPS for presentation:
For transparency, the following information will be published along with all MAPS deliverables:
- Content Authorship Disclosures: Name, photo, title, company, and, generally, up to two (2) academic designations per content developer/presenter (e.g., MD, PharmD).
- Relevant Conflicts of Interest Disclosures: All content developers are required to complete Conflict of Interest statements and advise the audience of such accordingly. Any relevant disclosures will be noted in both marketing materials and presentations for IACET aligned courses and at presentations only for non-accredited presentations.
2. Use of Proprietary Technology Platforms and Findings in Case Study Demonstrations:
MAPS recognizes the unique nature of visual presentations where demonstration of platforms and inclusion of case studies is central to the content of any deliverable. However, to avoid promoting, or the appearance of promotion, of any company’s proprietary platform, product, and/or service, the following are required:
- The example or case study of the proprietary platform, product, case study and/or service should ideally be presented by someone who is NOT an owner or agent of the company who offers the platform/product/case study/service, or at minimum should be co-presented with an industry member or subject matter expert who is not an owner or agent of the company who owns the platform/product/case study/service and:
- If the presentation is showing the use of only one (1) platform/product/case study/service in the presentation, the presentation may NOT just be a demonstration of such. Rather, it must reference the tool in the context of a broader discussion of competency/capability development.
- If the presentation is showcasing multiple platforms/products/case studies/services to educate the audience on available technologies, it must:
- include at least two different platforms/products/case studies/services from different companies
- describe the platforms/products/case studies/services in a balanced manner, giving equal time to each option.
- be based on current science, evidence, and clinical reasoning
- Wherever possible, use of generic phrases for the technology instead of proprietary brands will be made.
- When responding to specific questions from the audience about the technology demonstrated/mentioned:
- no company name or proprietary brand will be mentioned
- mention will be made of at least one competitor’s products with similar capabilities.
3. No references will be made to “our products”.
4. The content of every Focus Area Working Group deliverable shall be signed-off by at least one of the FAWG co-leads who must not be affiliated with the platform company or product. If one of the FAWG co-leads is the lead for a deliverable, the other co-lead will do a fair evaluation of the content to confirm adherence to guidelines.
3. Conference Workshops or Training Programs (virtual or in-person)1:
MAPS does NOT provide company “sponsored” workshops at its conferences/events. Thus, MAPS has a strict policy on corporate branding, and workshops should NOT be deemed promotional in nature:
- Discussing company products is not allowed, unless fair and balanced presentation of competing products or services is also included.
- Logos of facilitators’ companies are permitted only on the secondary title slide in conjunction with the facilitators’ names, title and company.
- Evaluations will be completed by workshop participants and low scores on the objective (i.e., non-promotional) nature of the workshop could factor into future invitations to present at MAPS events.
All sponsored podcasts are available to MAPS members and nonmembers. In addition, notice of the podcast sponsorship must be disclosed to the audience:
- In all marketing materials
- Shared verbally with the audience at the beginning of the podcast
Partner Circle Member (PCM)-led Webinars:
All PCM webinars must adhere to the above guidelines. In addition, notice of the webinar sponsorship must be disclosed to the audience:
- In all marketing materials
- On the first slide of the webinar
- The Learning & Development Committee and/or Executive Program Committee will:
- Through active promotion of this policy, regularly review the leadership and commitment given to Non-Promotion and Conflict of Interest Disclosure.
- Monitor performance by way of periodic management reports and assurances.
- The CEO will:
- Ensure that the organization’s practices and processes incorporate precautions against infractions of this policy;
- Where appropriate, delegate responsibility for compliance to officers with responsibility for particular sections.
- Oversee the performance of subordinate officers in these matters.
- Review and report to the Board, as appropriate, on the effectiveness of the management systems established to remove discrimination.
- Analyze material breaches and identified compliance system weaknesses for systematic trends and ensure that any adverse trends are addressed.
- Promote a culture of effective policy compliance across the organization.
3. All staff and volunteers at all levels will:
- Ensure that they are aware of the organization’s policy;
- Where appropriate, suggest ways in which practices, systems and procedures could be improved so as to reduce the likelihood of discrimination occurring.
The CEO will initially review the organization’s procedures in all areas to ensure that these are in accordance with the principles expressed in this policy, and will report to the Board on this matter.
The CEO will review any changes to the organization’s procedures in all areas to ensure that these are in accordance with the principles expressed in this policy.
This policy, as well as all other applicable policies, is provided to MAPS members via a link to the policy posted on MAPS website.
Any notice of non-compliance with the policy will be immediately reviewed. If a content developer/presenter/learner is deemed to not be in compliance with the policy in regards to the development, presentation, or learning of a MAPS continuing education offering, s/he will be advised of the infraction, and will be given one opportunity to immediately correct the infraction. If the infraction is not corrected forthwith or if a second violation occurs, the individual will be removed from the program. At that point:
- If the individual is not a MAPS member, s/he will be permanently barred from participating in any MAPS content development and/or presentation. In addition, s/he will not be permitted to join MAPS at any point.
- If the individual is a MAPS member, s/he will be permanently barred from participating in any MAPS content development and/or presentation. In addition, her/his MAPS membership will be immediately revoked with no possibility of dues reimbursement or future membership.