August 19, 2019
TAG maintains a policy of a strict firewall between funding received and the stances we take or positions for which we advocate. At times, this has resulted in TAG losing support from certain funders, which we accept as part of the cost of staying true to our mission and values, and acting independently and with integrity.
TAG accepts industry funding, provided that it is not contingent upon TAG championing any specific policies or positions. However, TAG’s TB program does not accept any industry funding.
TAG notes that other sources of funding, including grants from governments, foundations, and other non-profits, also potentially pose conflicts of interest. TAG manages these potential conflicts of interest in the same way as it does industry funding, i.e., with the strict above-mentioned firewall between revenue considerations and determinations about program priorities and activities.
To further avoid any conflicts of interest or potential for perceptions of them, TAG requires staff to disclose any outside income, and does not permit staff/consultants to keep as personal income honoraria from industry or own equity in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries.
TAG’s board members file annual conflict of interest statements to ensure they carry out their fiduciary oversight of TAG’s work. TAG’s board members have a duty of loyalty requiring that, while serving TAG, they must act solely in TAG’s interests and not in their personal interests or the interests of others. They are also responsible for making decisions to keep TAG free from embarrassment or criticism that could arise from a potential conflict. As a result, TAG does not allow representatives from industry on its board.
In response to other organizations’ policies that inconsistently refer to intellectual conflicts of interest, we also note that we at TAG do not believe that having an informed, evidence-based opinion, or being vocal about that, constitutes a conflict of interest, intellectual or otherwise.