Collaborations between medical research charities and the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostic and devices industries can deliver significant benefits for patients and for wider society, speeding up the development of new treatments and therapies and improving existing ones to produce better health outcomes.
Kidney Research UK recognises the benefits that can arise from such collaborative working with industry and has led a number of research and quality improvement projects that have been supported by pharmaceutical partners.
The charity has an important role to play in increasing renal research capacity in the UK. In addition to its own ‘response mode’ grants programme, Kidney Research UK is able to facilitate relationships between academia and the pharmaceutical industry, overseeing research design and providing the objective governance to ensure financial support from partners is deployed into independent academic-led studies. The charity also recognises, however, that such relationships should be subject to clear guidelines for joint working, to ensure openness, independence, transparency and impartiality. This statement therefore lays out our policy on collaboration with industry.
We will only seek and accept support from industry partners for projects that directly support Kidney Research UK’s strategy. Such non-commercial, academic-led projects will be designed to advance our knowledge of kidney disease, improve prevention and treatment of kidney disease and/or to improve the quality of life for people affected by kidney disease.
Impartiality and independence
We will not develop any partnership with industry that may in any way damage our reputation, and will terminate any relationship that, in our view, becomes a threat to our reputation.
We will not accept support from any company that is attempting to influence the charity’s policy or direction, or, through association with the charity, is attempting to influence policymakers for commercial advantage.
All projects that are financially supported by collaborative working with industry will be subject to our established governance processes. Projects will be governed by the charity and led by the principal investigator(s) approved by Kidney Research UK. Following initial consultation, where beneficial to project design, industry partners will take an arms-length role and the academic lead will work independently for the duration of the project and in publishing the findings.
From time to time the charity may choose to nominate clinical and patient experts to comment on public consultations on treatment technologies and clinical guidelines. Where such consultations concern a particular product, we will always act in the best interests of patients, free from influence from the supplier.
Openness and transparency
As a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), we will apply working with industry principles in line with the AMRC recommendations of independence, integrity and transparency.
The pharmaceutical industry is bound by the ABPI Code of Practice, a self-regulatory system that is supported by the law. Kidney Research UK will also comply with this code, in particular Clause 27, Relationships with Patient Organisations.
We will publish a full breakdown of restricted funding received from industry partners within our annual report.
All partnerships with industry will be subject to a written agreement.
Kidney Research UK has run and continues to run a number of highly successful projects in collaboration with industry partners. These have helped us to deliver a major clinical trial on ways to treat anaemia in dialysis patients safely and effectively, for example. Another is currently helping us establish a large, national biobank for renal disease, starting with two diseases, idiopathic nephrotic syndrome and chronic kidney disease.
Reviewed: March 2021