CRA Industry Council Guidelines

CRA Mission

The Mission of the Canadian Rheumatology Association is to represent Canadian rheumatologists and promote the pursuit of excellence in arthritis and rheumatic disease care, education and research.

General Principles Governing Partnership with CRA

  1. Any activity, as well as participants, must respect and adhere to the letter and to the spirit of the Canadian Medical Association Code of Ethics, Canadian Medical Association Guidelines for physicians in interactions with industry and the Innovative Medicines Canada Code of Ethical Practices.
  2. Non-industry attendees to any accredited educational activity held under the auspices of the CRA cannot have any expenses covered nor receive any payment from industry.
  3. Once committed with a signed sponsorship form, sponsors and exhibitors will honour payment of sponsorship/exhibitor fees.

Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) General Guidelines

  1. The CRA will contract all hotel rooms and meetings rooms for the conference when delivered in person.
  2. The CRA expects all participants to adhere to their respective codes of ethics and conduct as per General Principle #1.
  3. Exhibit
    1. In keeping with Innovative Medicines Canada guidelines, promotional and educational material available at the exhibit area must be consistent with the approved product monograph(s). Reprints of scientific and medical papers may be distributed, provided they are reprinted verbatim, and are not presented in a manner which differs in any way from the approved product monograph(s). Provision of meals and refreshments is prohibited.
    2. Sponsors and exhibitors must adhere to all applicable laws and regulations relating to advertising, and must comply with all advertising, promotional and public relations standards, guidelines and policies established by the CRA.  Industry* and pharmaceutical exhibitors must not display, sell or distribute any advertising or promotional material (including but not limited to door drops, pens, stickers, notepads or other promotional goodies). *Industry includes all for-profit organizations. 
    3. When the conference is delivered in person, industry exhibit booth areas are restricted to the space as outlined in the Exhibitor’s Manual. All items MUST be contained within this space. If the items exceed the space, then excess items will need to be removed.
    4. A notice of exhibit cancellation must be submitted in writing to the CRA at least 2 months prior to the meeting. Once a notice of cancellation has been accepted, 50% of the exhibit rate is non‐refundable. No refunds will be given for cancellations received less than 2 months prior to the meeting. Notice of cancellation of exhibit space must be submitted in writing to the CRA by email (info@rheum.ca). Allow for 2-4 weeks after the meeting for refunds to be processed.
    5. Refunds or credits will not be given for failure to attend or unattended events.
    6. General industry participants at the Annual Scientific Meeting may promote their attendance at the Annual Scientific Meeting on social media and use the meeting hashtag.  

4. Industry Activities

  1. Industry Advisory Boards – When in person, ONLY Diamond and Platinum level Corporate Sponsors may apply to hold an Industry Advisory Board Meeting post ASM to begin at a time designated by the CRA (will be after the completion of the CRA ASM) and not earlier. These meetings will include no more than 20 participants, including MDs, sponsors and others and must be authorized by the CRA. Any Canadian Rheumatologist attending these Ad Board meetings must have registered for the CRA conference.
  2. Full day industry-sponsored activities in Canada (educational and/or business), such as conferences, meetings, and advisory boards with (or targeting) Canadian Rheumatologists, will not be permitted within one week prior to or after the CRA ASM (one week before the Wednesday start and one week after the Saturday end inclusive). Furthermore, no such industry activity (educational and/or business) can be conducted during the CRA ASM.
  3. For in-person ASM’s, the CRA will pre-designate the evening(s) available for industry to interact with members for social promotion.
  4. Complimentary tickets for the Welcome Reception (if applicable) and CRA Gala Dinner (in-person ASM only) are supplied to industry based on sponsorship level. Tickets that will not be used should be returned to the registration desk.
  5. No competing activities (such as small meetings, dinners, etc.) can be held during the CRA Gala Dinner, Welcome Reception, AGM or during any educational sessions.

5. Industry Representatives

  1. Representatives from industry*, are able to register to attend the CRA ASM if their company is a Corporate Sponsor or Exhibitor pending approval from sponsoring company and not exceeding the assigned registration allowance per company. New companies that have a product which is not yet on the market, may apply for one (1) Medical Science Liaison (MSL) registration to attend the ASM at the applicable rate. This MSL designation will be noted on their name tag.
  2. For corporate sponsors only, up to 2 pharmaceutical employees from the scientific/medical division (not sales, marketing or medical education) may register under Sponsor Rep – scientific/medical division at the applicable rate. These reps would be in addition to the company’s allocated number of representatives based on corporate sponsorship.
  3. Corporate sponsors may have additional sales, marketing or medical education reps attend the ASM beyond their allowable number based on corporate sponsorship, upon paying the applicable rate under Extra Sponsor Reps – marketing/sales exceeds sponsorship allotment.
  4. Badges must be worn at all times by the registered attendee. Absence of a badge will result in that individual being asked to leave the meeting site. Badges are not transferable and failure to adhere to this guideline will result in forfeiture of the badge.
    *Industry includes all for-profit organizations.

6. Abstracts

  1. The First Author and Presenting Author of an Investigator or Industry-initiated abstracts must be one of the following:
    1. Non-industry* based;
    2. A CRA corporate sponsor or exhibitor (must adhere to the Industry Representative restrictions outlined in #5 above).
      *Industry includes all for-profit organizations.

7. No media or press conference is authorized during the annual CRA ASM without written consent from the CRA.

8. The CEO of the CRA will be the primary point of contact for industry for all matters related to industry relations. As such, all requests, questions, or suggestions should go through the CEO first.

Unaccredited Satellite Symposia

1. Content

  1. Subject to approval by the CRA ASM Program committee, the program content must be relevant to rheumatology, provide cutting-edge, evidence-based information, and communicate a balanced and unbiased view of the topic being discussed. Material must be of educational value for CRA members along with other members of the target audience. Valid learning objectives/opportunities should be based on needs’ assessment, surveys and other methods of data gathering for contributing to continuing professional development.
  2. Satellite Symposia applications are reviewed and awarded as part of a two-part submission process.

2. Logistics

  1. Satellite symposia sponsors are solely responsible for preparation of their promotional materials (posters and invitations) and the logistics of their in-person symposium including audio-visual requirements, catering, décor, music etc. (or additional logistical requirements for virtual symposium presentation). All logistics must be approved in advance by the CRA.
  2.  All honoraria, travel and accommodation costs associated with the faculty are the responsibility of sponsor, including registration for the CRA Annual Scientific Meeting (although symposia sponsors cannot directly pay for conference registration for speakers, this is against accreditation guidelines, this could be taken into consideration when setting honorarium amounts). Symposia sponsors can provide their non-CRA member speakers with an honorarium, compensation for travel and/or hotel accommodations; CRA members can be paid an honorarium.
  3. Further to the CMA Guidelines for Physicians in Interactions with Industry, faculty and moderators must complete and sign conflict disclosure forms for all educational activities, even unaccredited satellite symposia. Speakers are to submit their forms to the ASM Program Committee in advance of the activity. Speakers are to disclose any such conflicts in their second slide (this must include the name of the sponsoring company). Speakers will be asked to use generic names for drugs in their presentations, discussions, and enduring material and will inform the audience if any “off label” use will be discussed.

3. Advertising

  1. Sponsors are responsible for all program advertising.
  2. All advertising must be pre-approved by the CRA and must:
    • Be bilingual;
    • NOT contain the CRA or ASM logo or mention the CRA Annual Scientific Meeting;
    • Include learning objectives;
    • Be restricted to one (1) promotional poster (24” x 36”) or electronic poster in lobby at in-person ASM’s. (promotional signs are not permitted inside the meeting room).
  3. The use of #[EventHashtags] on social media platforms that reference the CRA or ASM is permitted to promote a satellite symposium exclusively (CRA or ASM tagging in the body of a post is strictly prohibited). 

4. Bilingualism

  1. All program advertising and signage must be bilingual; however, presentations do not have to be bilingual.

5. Collateral materials

  1. Sponsors interested in developing collateral materials after the conference (i.e. electronic, print, or other forms) based on content from the program must adhere to the advertising policy regarding the CRA and ASM names/logos.
  2. Should a sponsor wish to record the symposium, a request must be made in writing to the CRA CEO. If permission is approved, the following guidelines must be adhered to:
    • There must be no reference to the CRA name and/or CRA Annual Scientific Meeting;
    • The audience must not be filmed;
    • Video presentation must be provided to the CRA for review/approval before it is made public.

6. Evaluation of programs

  1. Sponsors must disseminate an evaluation after their session and will be provided with a standardized evaluation of bias from the CRA that must be included in the symposium evaluation. The parameters used to judge bias will be communicated to the symposia sponsors prior to the meeting.
  2. Sponsors must provide the CRA with a copy of the evaluation results which will be reviewed by the ASM Program Committee; significant bias noted in a symposium presentation (i.e. more than 15% of audience poll results) can result in a one-year ban from submitting another symposium application.

Note:  Full symposia guidelines are provided prior to the meeting, at the time satellite symposia are awarded to sponsors.

Annual Meeting – Disputes & Complaints

  1. If a concern or problem arises, it should be reported to the CEO who will manage the complaint (if needed, it may involve the CRA Vice President, as the Industry Liaison). If the dispute is not resolved to the satisfaction of both parties, it will be brought to the CRA Board for discussion and final decision.
  2. The CRA Board reserves the right to:
  1. Ask company representative(s) to leave the meeting without any reimbursement in case of misconduct or non-adherence to the CRA and aforementioned guidelines and principles.
  2. Prohibit a company from participating in future CRA meetings if there is lack of respect to the letter and to the spirit of the guidelines governing the CRA/ Industry partnership.
  3. Communicate these decisions to all CRA members, medical associations partnering with CRA, as well as to the Innovative Medicines Canada office.

Review of Guidelines

These principles and guidelines will be reviewed annually at the Industry Council meeting and amended or modified as required.