Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions regarding the Stanford Medicine Industry Policy ("SIIP") and Non-CME (Continuing Medical Education) Academic Events. (Section IV.B and IV.C)
1. Can I use external financial and in-kind support* for an event such as a symposium, conference, workshop and other academic gathering?
Yes, you may accept external support as long as:
- the sponsor signs an approved letter of agreement (described in Question #2 below);
- the sponsor has no influence whatsoever in the curricular content of the event, including selection of speakers, and the activity must be free of bias; and
- the support is managed by a department, program, division or institute, rather than by an individual faculty member.
*In-kind support examples include space, materials, and administrative and logistical support.
Refer to Section IV.B of SIIP for further guidelines.
As a preliminary step, the faculty member should coordinate with Development (Joy Morimoto at Medical Center Development (MCD) or Stacy Neiman at Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health (LPFCH)) for advice and to ensure all funding is consistent with Stanford Medicine development objectives. MCD or LPFCH will initiate and facilitate communication with the sponsor in coordination with the faculty member. Once Development has been involved, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Obtain preliminary written approval from your department chair or center director for the funding.
Step 2: Share the written approval with Development and begin working with them on a letter of agreement outlining the source and terms and conditions of the funding. Development will handle all negotiations with the sponsor and must approve the final terms of the letter of agreement.
Step 3: Once the letter of agreement has been finalized, Development will manage the signature process. Each letter of agreement must be signed by (i) the sponsor, (ii) your department chair or center director, and (iii) the Development office. Please note that only Development has signature authority for accepting gifts and support for the School of Medicine. No individual faculty member, department chair or center director may accept support on behalf of Stanford.
Step 4: The executed letter of agreement will be processed by Development, and Development will provide the sponsor with instructions regarding sending a check or wiring funds to Development Services. Your department will establish a PTA (account) through the Gift Transmittal System once the funding is received. This PTA will be used by the department to manage the funds.
SIIP allows external support to fund the educational portion of an event. Faculty are strongly encouraged to determine how external support will be applied to expenses for such educational segments of the event. Note: Each sponsor may have its own internal policy about what it is able to fund.
Examples of permissible expenses:
- speaker fees or honorariums
- speaker travel and lodging (Refer to Administrative Guide 5.4.2 for travel policies)
- venue fees
- administrative staffing
Examples of expenses not permissible:
- any food and beverage
Acknowledgement of funding or in-kind support may be made on promotional materials using the following guidelines. Industry promotion or marketing is not permitted at the event.
- Development must pre-approve any benefits offered to sponsors, and the letter of agreement will specifically indicate how the sponsor will be acknowledged.
- All gifts must be approved by Development (MCD or LPFCH for pediatric funding). Development will formally accept gifts and authorize the benefits, if any, to be provided to the sponsor. Do not discuss benefits with a sponsor without first engaging with Development to ensure that what is being offered is consistent with SIIP and university policies.
- When Development has approved and signed the letter of agreement, sponsors may be acknowledged in the following ways:
- Sponsors’ names may be listed in plain text on the event website so long as the sponsors’ names are organized alphabetically and featured beneath, less prominently, and in noticeably smaller font than references to Stanford University, Stanford Medicine, and the event.
- Sponsors’ names must be uniform in size, irrespective of the sponsorship amount.
- Sponsors’ names may not be hyperlinks to their websites.
- Logos of sponsoring entities cannot be featured on any Stanford website, including event-specific websites.
- Sponsors may be acknowledged on promotional materials, banners, signage, and event and program material as long as they are clearly identified as sponsors. Their names and logos must be [organized alphabetically and] featured beneath, less prominently, and in noticeably smaller font/graphics than references to Stanford University, Stanford Medicine, and the event. All creative assets featuring a sponsor’s logo must be approved by the Dean’s Office. To submit a request, email SIIPQuestions@stanford.edu. Approvals and reviews of all creative assets will be processed within five business days of submission.
- Sponsors’ names and logos must be uniform in size, irrespective of the sponsorship amount.
- Sponsors’ cannot buy ad space on program materials.
No. A sponsor may not distribute or display their sales or marketing brochures or any other branded materials or products (including samples) at the event.
6. If I am affiliated with a company, can that company provide funding for a non-CME or other event, such as a professional conference?
Yes. They must follow the same process as detailed above in Question #2. If you are presenting at the event, you must disclose this affiliation verbally at the beginning of the presentation and on slide materials.
7. Can a representative from a sponsor participate in a workshop panel at a Stanford Medicine event?
Yes, provided that the activity director has confirmed that all presentations are free of commercial bias.
8. Can sponsors refer to their support of Stanford Medicine in their promotional materials or otherwise?
Yes. Sponsors may make factual statements regarding their support in periodic public reports, but they may not use the name of any Stanford faculty member, employee, or student nor any trademark, service mark, trade name, logo, or symbol of Stanford or Stanford Medicine without Stanford’s prior written consent from the Stanford Medicine Office of Communications and Public Affairs.
Sponsors may not issue press releases regarding the support without Stanford’s prior written consent. All press releases issued by third parties should be reviewed and approved as follows:
- All press releases issued by third parties announcing gifts and grants must be reviewed and approved in advance by the Medical Center Development and Stanford Medicine Office of Communication and Public Affairs.
- All press releases issued by third parties that describe or relate to activities of Stanford’s schools, departments, interdisciplinary institutes, or other Stanford units must be reviewed and approved by the communications director of the school, department, institute, or unit.
- All other press releases issued by third parties that describe or relate to Stanford’s activities should be reviewed and approved by University Communications.
1. How will I know if an industry sponsored talk I have been asked to give is promotional? Does SIIP apply to me?
There is no way to answer this question perfectly, and in the end, you must rely on your own good sense and judgment. Here are a series of questions to help you try to determine if the company is compensating you for a talk in a promotional capacity.
- Is compensation coming from the marketing division rather than the research division of the company?
- Is your compensation for giving the talk reasonable and customary?
- Is the company providing some/all of the content for the talk (slides, talking points, teaching aides, etc)?
- Is the company dictating the topic of the talk with any level of specificity?
- Does the company have any control over the topic/content talk? Do they review the talk contents prior to presentation?
- Is the company offering inducements to learners to attend the talk (e.g. meals, travel, gifts, lodging, honoraria, other)?
- Has the company asked you to attend a speakers training session?
- Is the venue for the talk more appropriate for a holiday or vacation than for a learning experience?
- The SIIP prohibition on engaging in educational activities that are promotional applies to all full time and part time faculty, including active emeriti, UTL, MCL, Clinician Educators, Adjunct faculty, staff, students and trainees.
2. If I give a talk sponsored by industry that is allowable under SIIP what guidelines I should follow?
- Ensure that your financial support by industry is fully disclosed by the meeting sponsor
- Prominently disclose to the attendees that you are being paid by the company to give the talk
- Do not use the Stanford name in a non-Stanford event except to identify your title and affiliation
- Make sure you communicate to the audience that the content reflects your views and not the views of Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford Hospitals and Clinics or Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
- Provide a fair and balanced assessment of therapeutic, diagnostic or preventative options and promote educational material that is scientifically accurate
- Faculty who accept gifts from industry model this behavior for their students and trainees
- Pharmaceutical and device companies have a history of using educational talks by academic leaders to promote their products
- Food is the most commonly used technique to derail the judgment aspect of decision-making. [Katz]
- Gifts of food influence attitudes, a fact that has been documented by Social Science research for decades
- Experimental subjects were more likely to accept persuasive messages when accompanied by food [Janis]
- Gifts become a social contract that creates a sense of obligation called reciprocity [ Cialdini]
- Even di minimus gifts, such as pens, engender a sense of obligation and reciprocity on the part of the recipient [Wazana]
- Feelings of obligation to reciprocate are unrelated to the value of the gift
- Reciprocal giving is often unequal - the return gift may have a higher value (e.g. a pen vs. writing a prescription with that pen) [Cialdini]
- Gifts that are unwanted or unsolicited still create the sense of obligation to reciprocate. [Cialdini]
- Gifts produce a feeling of obligation even when the giver is disliked [Regan]
- 61% of physicians reported that gifts don't influence them, but only 16% thought they don't influence others [Dana]
- The size or value of the gift does not directly correlate with its influence
- Medical students were significantly more likely to think that gifts were more problematic for public officials than physicians [McKinney]
- Physicians that attended an industry-sponsored seminar including travel to a resort location, increased their usage of the sponsor's drug but deny the seminar had an influence [Orlowski]
7. Is it allowable for our department to receive grants from industry for scholarships or other educational funds for students and trainees?
Yes, as long as receipt is compliant with SIIP. Support must be specifically for the purpose of education and meet the following conditions:
- The School of Medicine (SoM department, institute, program or division) selects the student or trainee
- The recipient is not subject to any implicit or explicit expectation of providing something in return for the support, i.e., a 'quid pro quo'
- The funds are provided to SoM and not directly to student or trainee
- SoM has determined that the funded conference or program has educational merit
- Cialdini RB. Influence: Science and Practice. New York: Harper Collins College Publishers, 1993.
- Dana J, Loewenstein G. A social science perspective on gifts to physicians from industry. JAMA. 2003;290(2):252-5.
- Janis IL, Kaye D, Kirschner P. Facilitating Effects of "Eating-While-Reading" on Responsiveness to Persuasive Communications. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1965;95:181-6.
- Katz D, Caplan AL, Merz JF. All gifts large and small: toward an understanding of the ethics of pharmaceutical industry gift-giving. Am J Bioeth. 2003;3(3):39-46.
- McKinney WP, Schiedermayer DL, Lurie N, Simpson DE, Goodman JL, Rich EC. Attitudes of internal medicine faculty and residents toward professional interaction with pharmaceutical sales representatives. JAMA. 1990;264(13):1693-7.
- Orlowski JP, Wateska L. The effects of pharmaceutical firm enticements on physician prescribing patterns. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Chest. 1992;102(1):270-3.
- Palmisano P, Edelstein J. Teaching drug promotion abuses to health profession students. J Med Educ. 1980;55(5):453-5.
- Regan DT. Effects of a favor and liking on compliance. J Exp Soc Psychol. 1971;7:627-39.
- Wazana A. Physicians and the pharmaceutical industry: is a gift ever just a gift? JAMA. 2000;283(3):373- 80.