Conflict of Interest and Corporate Donation Policy

Breast Cancer Action (BCAction) is committed to the highest ethical standards and ensuring that our educational and activist work is conducted with integrity and without the bias of corporate influence. BCAction’s work as the watchdog for the breast cancer movement is credible and effective because of the organization’s commitment to preventing real or perceived conflict of interest from our corporate donors and organizational leadership, which provides a foundation of trust for our members, partners, and the public.

Breast Cancer Action cannot be bought, influenced, or discouraged from its mission to achieve health justice for all women at risk of and living with breast cancer. Under no circumstances will policy or program decisions be influenced or affected by any of BCAction’s donors. To be effective in achieving meaningful change, we will not accept any corporate support that we deem to be in conflict with or inappropriate to the BCAction mission.

BCAction recognizes that corporate support and influence can include both monetary donations and representation within the organization, either on the governing Board of Directors or as paid staff. For this reason, this policy to remove conflict of interest applies to all aspects of the organization including corporate funders as well as individual members of the Board and staff.

This policy shall not be construed to prohibit Breast Cancer Action from accepting matching gifts from corporations that are initiated by donations from individual employees of the corporation and corporate contributions made in memory of someone at the request of the decedent or her or his family. Furthermore, BCAction can and does accept donations from businesses and corporations which do not pose a conflict of interest.

In the broadest terms, corporations from which we will not accept donations include those that profit from or contribute to breast cancer. These include, and are not limited to, corporate entities whose business includes breast cancer screening and diagnosis; FDA-regulated breast cancer treatment; the sale or manufacturing of products or services that are known or suspected to increase the risk of breast cancer, either for consumers or workers; work to weaken or circumvent environmental and occupational regulations that would protect public health and might decrease cancer incidence.

Specific industries and corporate foundations from which BCAction will not knowingly accept funding or allow representation on the Board of Directors include and are not limited to:

  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Biotech companies
  • Oil and gas companies
  • Tobacco companies
  • Alcohol companies
  • Health insurance organizations
  • Cancer treatment facilities
  • Cell phone carriers or manufacturers
  • Automobile companies

This policy is intended to insure that BCAction is independent from outside influences in the pursuit of its mission. This policy does not require BCAction to conduct an independent investigation or conduct exhaustive research of every corporation that provides a financial donation or whose employees serve on the Board of Directors.

Because BCAction’s work spans a broad array of topics and is responsive to current events and emerging science, we must be constantly vigilant to avoid conflict in areas of current or likely future work. BCAction invites our members and others to provide information about corporate activities that have bearing on this policy.

BCAction reserves the right to refuse any contribution or application to the Board. Companies and industries that may be problematic but are not adequately addressed in this policy will be evaluated by the executive director and, as necessary, by the Board of Directors. As additional questions arise, an ad hoc committee may be formed to recommend refinements of this policy.

Adopted by the Breast Cancer Action Board of Directors in August 1998 and last revised in November 2014.