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Patient Advocacy with Integrity

Updated from the original post

Increasingly, the not-for-profit advocacy world has been questioned regarding industry funding. Many critics believe that any organization that receives funding from the pharmaceutical industry is automatically biased, but this ignores the great pains that health charities often go through to remain unbiased, ethical, and credible. And it certainly does not reflect the patient-centric approach that CBCN takes.

So how does an organization like CBCN ensure that we are operating with integrity? Below, we outline the steps we take to confirm that the interests of patients are what really drives our work:

Putting Patients First
Patients and their families are the foundation of CBCN and their needs inform all aspects of our organization, including our decision-making. Our unique, patient-directed board model ensures that patients are the ones leading the strategic direction of the organization. This keeps us focused on addressing the challenges of patients on the ground across the country.

CBCN also conducts numerous surveys, convenes advisory committees for all projects, and hold in-person and virtual meetings with patients and caregivers to inform our informational, educational and advocacy activities. By directly engaging patients and their families in our work, we strive to accurately represent the genuine needs and concerns of individuals affected by breast cancer in Canada.

Being Transparent
CBCN is dedicated to transparency and voluntary disclosure regarding our funding sources. An external independent audit is conducted each year and all audited financial statements are available on our website. A full list of CBCN’s funders is also available on the “Supporters” page of our website. We also disclose which projects are funded by industry unless we are explicitly prohibited from doing so by Ad Standards regulations. Ad Standards sets the criteria for acceptable advertising to Canadians. For projects under Ad Standards restrictions, we state that the project is funded by a leading pharmaceutical company. Being open about our industry collaboration allows us to foster open and honest dialogue with our network and preserve trust in our organization.

Focusing on Compliance
CBCN accepts funding from a number of sources including private donations, corporate sponsorship and industry funding. We adhere to CBCN’s “Code of Conduct Governing Corporate Funding” to ensure that our operations continue in the best interests of patients. As a registered health charity, we also strictly follow the Canadian Revenue Agency’s charity and tax laws.

Practicing an Evidence-Based Approach
When making decisions about our projects and campaigns, CBCN bases our activities on the best and most credible scientific advice available. We do not promote initiatives that are not supported by sound medical and scientific merit. CBCN works closely with our Medical Advisory Board comprised of Canada’s leading oncologists, and regularly collaborates with the medical and research community and with healthcare providers in particular to ensure that our projects are relevant to patients and independently scientifically vetted.

These are just some of the ways that CBCN aims to remain credible, ethical, and transparent to our stakeholders.  As someone who has personally experienced a breast cancer diagnosis, and as the chair of this organization, I assure you that the needs of patients will continue to be the foundation for the work that the CBCN undertakes.

Sincerely,

Cathy Ammendolea
CBCN Board Chair

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