Brussels, 08 Jul 2004
A new initiative by Cancer Research UK and Universities UK on the issue of tobacco industry funding has been applauded by the world's health bodies.
The two organisations have signed a joint protocol containing good practise guidance to protect academic research from what might be perceived as manipulation by corporate interests.
The protocol accepts that while it is up to individual universities to decide what funds to accept and from whom, universities 'will consider carefully' the sources of all offers of funding as it might be 'detrimental to their reputation'. Similarly, Cancer Research UK will not financially support research institutions if they have strong ties with the tobacco industry.
'We are pleased with this joint protocol with Cancer Research UK' said Diana Warwick, head of Universities UK. 'Our higher education institutions are dedicated to teaching and research for the public good and are committed to the academic freedom of their teaching and research staff. UK universities would not wish to undertake activities that compromise the integrity or independence of their work.'
Dr Derek Yach, from the World Health Organisation (WHO), added: '100 countries have signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control [FCTC]. The text requires governments to be vigilant against undue influences of the tobacco industry as new policies are introduced. As governments take action, universities should consider following the lead shown by Cancer Research UK and all adopt similar codes that protect the integrity of science against the tobacco industry as their way of showing coherence with the spirit of the FCTC.'
In the UK alone, tobacco causes a third of all cancers and 90 per cent of all lung cancers and is responsible for 114,000 deaths every year. To read the text of the protocol, please visit: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/images/1 1632/jointprotocol.pdf