Home > Guidelines on the management of relationships with organizations with vested interests.

International Confederation for Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drug Research Associations. (2019) Guidelines on the management of relationships with organizations with vested interests. Helsinki: ICARA.

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ICARA represents national and international ATOD (Alcohol, tobacco and other drug) research associations and recognizes their diversity in purpose and function. Furthermore, such associations operate in very different financial contexts, with a few having steady sources of income from membership fees, conferences or journals, and others relying on government support or voluntary donations. Many will also be supported by sponsorship or funding from private organizations for conferences or other activities. Funding organizations, especially private enterprises, can have goals that conflict with the aims or purpose of the society as they exist primarily for profit, not public good. Problems might therefore arise when sponsorship is provided by such organizations with vested interests. A vested interest can be defined as “a strong reason for supporting a particular action which will give a personal or financial advantage”. In the context of ATOD research, vested interests can be individuals or organizations interested in promoting a specific view on or opinion about research or public health issues in the ATOD field, for financial or other reasons. Sponsorship also serves the purpose of enhancing the sponsor’s reputation and potential influence in ATOD policy or politics. 

These guidelines result from the documentation of the growing involvement of private enterprises, including the corporate alcohol industry, in ATOD research. It reflects the increasing concern about the involvement of such industries in activities that impinge upon the public health and social welfare missions of individual research scientists and, more broadly, of the mandate of research societies, associations and organizations. Traditional boundaries between scientists and for-profit industries have been diminishing in many countries as part of a general trend to make science more relevant to business applications and for nonprofit organizations to attract new sources of revenue. This policy seeks to provide guidelines for research societies and for their academic and administrative staff with regard to engagement with industry organizations, as well as relationships with other funders. The guidelines provided here do not seek to instruct ICARA members on what funding sources are appropriate for member organizations. If the profits of the sponsoring organization rely on the production or sale of addictive or potentially harmful commodities, ICARA urges members to exercise caution, and to make decisions based on careful consideration of potential risks and benefits both to the member organization and to the public good.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Guideline, Report
Drug Type
Alcohol, All substances, Tobacco / Nicotine
Intervention Type
General / Comprehensive, Policy
7 p.
Corporate Creators
International Confederation for Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drug Research Associations
Place of Publication
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