Ashfield Healthcare Communications has a long heritage in providing authors, biopharmaceutical, and medical device companies with support in planning and developing biomedical publications. These services range from supporting companies with classical and digitally enriched publication planning, to working with authors to support them with preparation and submission of publications.

This policy describes Ashfield Healthcare Communications’ approach to communicating medical research sponsored by biopharmaceutical and medical device companies via peer-reviewed journals and scientific congresses. Ashfield Healthcare Communications commits to following ethical principles in its role in supporting development of publications in biomedical journals (including traditional as well as multichannel publishing), and abstracts, oral and poster presentations at professional scientific congresses.

Our employees

Ashfield Healthcare Communications will ensure that:

– All employees who work on biomedical publications and oral/poster presentations at scientific congresses are trained in ethical publication practices and associated guidelines and reporting standards.

– All employees have access to current biomedical publications resources and internal advice and guidance from a knowledgeable internal Compliance Team, who themselves are trained at the highest levels on ethical publication practices, guidelines and standards.

– Any differences in opinion between Ashfield Healthcare Communications, authors and sponsors with regard to interpretation and application of ethical guidelines and best practices will be handled objectively by the Ashfield Healthcare Communications Compliance Team.

Our Publication Planning

Ashfield Healthcare Communications has been a leader in the evolution of publication planning to include multichannel communication of biomedical research. In creating either traditional or multichannel publication plans, where study details have been shared with Ashfield Healthcare Communications, we will:

– Include primary publication of all clinical trials, regardless of outcome, in any publication plans that we develop.

– Include additional publication recommendations based on an objective assessment of each study to identify further data or analyses, regardless of outcome, that we believe to be of significant medical importance.

– Develop schedules that ensure publication of the primary data before publication of secondary or post-hoc analyses.

– Ensure that journal and congress recommendations are based on the need for transparency, and visibility of data to the relevant medical professionals.

To ensure that publication planning is undertaken in a responsible and ethical manner, Ashfield Healthcare Communications will:

– Fully support authors’ rights to publish their research and to be involved in decisions relating to peer-reviewed publication and presentation of the study data, including choice of journal or congress.

– Avoid practices that may skew the medical record, such as development of duplicate or redundant publications or avoiding publication of negative or inconclusive studies.

– Develop publication timelines that allow data to be published in a timely manner, while providing sufficient time for authors to interpret the data and critically review and comment on publication content.

Our Publications Support

When implementing publication plans and supporting authors with publication development, Ashfield Healthcare Communications will:

– Apply authorship criteria as defined in International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations, or authorship/contributorship criteria specified by individual journals or congresses.

– Support the authors’ right to direct the content of the publication from the outset, remain in frequent contact with the authors throughout publication development, and ensure critical review of the content by the authors.

– Work with authors and sponsors to develop publications that are accurate, complete, balanced, and objective, regardless of study outcome, with unbiased representation and interpretation of the study results, and with inclusion of a study identifier (where relevant).

– Follow appropriate reporting standards for different types of publications, including CONSORT standards and others.

– Facilitate honest scientific debate between sponsor and author, or between authors, to resolve any differences in data reporting or interpretation of findings.

– Ensure that those who provide support in developing publications or presentations (such as medical writers and sponsors), but who do not qualify as authors, are appropriately acknowledged, and that any sources of study funding or funding for publications support are declared.

– Request authors to disclose potential conflicts of interest in all publications and presentations, in accordance with journal/congress guidelines.

– Respect intellectual property and copyright laws.

Updated 10 December 2014