Univadis Editorial Policy

Our Purpose

Univadis is committed to delivering impartial and accurate health information to meet the needs of healthcare professionals (HCPs) around the globe. Our professional editorial staff is responsible for the curation, creation, and maintenance of the content presented on our Web sites, mobile applications, and messages sent to our users via email or other media. Our goal is to continually discover the best means to help solve medical information overload and provide a unique resource for HCPs to remain current in medicine and continually improve their practice.

Univadis is owned and operated by Aptus Health -- a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. of Kenilworth, NJ, USA (“MSD”). Aptus Health maintains its own independent editorial process, business and financial operations, and governance, including independent officers, board of directors, and audit and compliance committees. Aptus Health maintains full confidentiality and information segregation from MSD.

Our sites and apps may carry advertising. Advertising content and sponsorships on our Web sites, mobile applications, and emails are clearly delineated from editorial content. This policy of editorial independence is strictly enforced by our professional editorial staff and our editorial advisory board, to safeguard our content objectivity, accuracy, and balance. The work of the editorial staff is kept separate from the influence of sponsors and advertisers.

All of the editorial and advertising content within Univadis Web and mobile applications and messages is targeted strictly to healthcare professionals, and not to healthcare consumers.

Governance of this policy

Final decisions on editorial content are made by the VP Univadis Strategy in compliance with this Editorial Policy, which is annually reviewed and approved by the Univadis Advisory Board.

Any changes to the Editorial Policy must be approved by CEO or President, Provider Division, Aptus Health.

Advisory Board

As part of the governance of Univadis, an Advisory Board provides oversight and guidance on non-commercial medical, scientific, technological and educational content. The Advisory Board comprises HCPs from various specialties and countries. All applicable anti-corruption laws and anti-kickback laws, including the UK Bribery Act, the U. S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and other such laws of any country in which Aptus Health does business or Univadis is available, must be followed.

Current advisory board members include:

  • Antonio Vaz Carneiro, MD, PhD, FACP, FESC (Chair)
    Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon (FMUL)
  • Mark Freeman, MD, MRCP (UK)
    Consultant in General Medicine, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Dewsbury & District Hospital
  • Jessica Hirschel, MD
    University of Geneva, Faculty of Medicine

Advisory Board members are nominated based on local country business recommendations or are physicians / HCPs that have served as resources on other Univadis projects. Nominees may also be recommended by existing or past Advisory Board members. Members who are nominated or selected by local business owners must be reviewed and approved by Aptus Health.

To be eligible for nomination to the Advisory Board, the HCP must have an interest and expertise in medical online communications, be active in his/her field of practice, and be fluent in English.

While sitting at the Advisory Board, Advisory Board Members cannot concurrently serve:

  • In any other engagement in which Aptus Health, MSD, or any other pharmaceutical company seeks advice related to product promotion, product portfolios or any other pharmaceutical-related commercial activities. Advisory Board Members may serve as investigators, expert speakers, or medical experts for general consultation.
  • As an employee of an organization that is a content provider for the Univadis service or other content offering of Aptus Health.

Each appointment to the Advisory Board is for a 2-year term (in accordance with country laws and regulations), with the possibility of a 1-term reappointment at the discretion of Aptus Health, dependent upon the member’s effectiveness and contributions.

The Advisory Board does not have mandatory in-person meetings. Members are expected to do work independently in order to support the efforts of Aptus Health’s Univadis content team, as well as to assist with any content projects for the local Univadis teams, in accordance with the terms of their engagement.

TYPES OF EDITORIAL CONTENT

Our editorial content is selected and developed to support the Univadis mission of being an essential resource for healthcare professionals. All content we deliver—whether licensed or original—is included based on its suitability for this purpose.

Aside from market research into individual content areas, as described in the sections below, Univadis consults with our Advisory Board to help assess the overall suitability and direction of our content offerings.

Third-party editorial content

We license content from some of the most respected and established names in medical publishing. This third-party editorial content is obtained from companies who share editorial standards compatible with our own.

Our selection of third-party content partners is based on several key factors:

  • Demand for this content from worldwide healthcare professionals, based on surveys of medical professionals, market research, assessment of journal impact factor, and direct conversations with our users and independent medical advisors
  • Our own assessment of a provider’s content quality
  • Our own assessment of a provider’s editorial policy, including editorial independence from commercial influence and clearly identifying sponsored and commercial content
  • Observation of content consumption by our users on our Web sites and mobile apps

Third party content is generally rigorously peer-reviewed by the original publisher. Additionally, subsequent to the selection process employed to include a publisher in our content stream, publisher content is periodically spot-checked by our in-house staff to maintain active quality controls.

We actively monitor the value of third-party content through user engagement metrics and satisfaction surveys.

Original editorial content

Our editorial staff includes medical professionals—physicians, pharmacists, nurses and physician assistants—as well as experienced staff and freelance scientific and medical journalists. This team is responsible for creating original editorial content using the same process to ensure independence and appropriateness that we employ when selecting publishers.

All original content is based on sources of high quality and reliability, including peer-reviewed medical journals, trusted medical textbooks, government health agencies, and recognized experts.

Any original content we present based on original research or expert recommendation will clearly disclose the author who has prepared the content. All such authors are required to complete a standard document that requires disclosure of any affiliations or financial relationships that may represent a conflict of interest. Any significant conflicts will be disclosed alongside the affect piece of content.

Examples of our original editorial content include:

  • Reference content:
    • Drug database: sourced from leading UK providers including eMC (medicines.org)
    • Calculators: based on original sources in peer-reviewed publications
    • Guideline summaries: based on current evidence-based guidelines
    • Medical quiz: interactive questions written by our in-house experts
  • News summaries
:
    • Capsule summaries based on the latest publications in peer-reviewed journals
    • Expert reviews of key publications from the prior month, authored by relevant experts
  • Education:
    • Video modules presented by experts and developed with input from experts, reviewing conditions and treatments important to our audience
    • Interactive eLearning modules

Content Validity

Third-party partners who supply editorial content are responsible for setting appropriate validity and expiration of their content and providing content updates when applicable.

Original content is actively managed by our content staff and set for expiration or update at regular intervals.

ADVERTISING POLICY

Like most other medical information publishers, including both traditional print publishers and digital media, we rely on sponsorships and advertising to support this service. We strictly observe the following guardrails to govern these financial relationships:

  • Commercial content is clearly identified, whether it be banner advertising or promotional editorial content (“advertorial”) that is supplied or influenced by a paying partner
  • Sponsored areas of the web site are clearly identified when funding has been received to support that portion of the web site, even when we have retained full editorial control
  • Any links to or logos of third parties that we provide on our site do not represent an endorsement or recommendation of those third parties or their content, unless it is explicitly stated

The source of the information we deliver is always provided.

Internal Advertising

Univadis web and mobile properties may include banner advertising that promotes other features or content within Univadis. This type of advertising may appear in any portion of the Univadis properties, at the sole discretion of Univadis.

Paid Content and Advertising

Sponsored content and commercial advertising will always be disclosed to our users.

  • Sponsorship: A sponsorship indicates that a third-party has provided funding to support the development and/or maintenance of a portion of the web site, or for a specific content initiative. For this type of content, the sponsorship relationship is clearly indicated on all sponsored portions of the web site and on all sponsored content pieces. The sponsor in these circumstances does not have editorial input into the content that is provided, whether it is provided from third-party content providers, or developed by our editorial staff.
  • Commercial content: Content that is developed in whole or in part by a paying third party may include advertising, such as online or mobile banners, or advertorial content, which is lengthier content that promotes a particular product or service. In either of these scenarios, the source of the content will be disclosed. Placement of paid content, including advertorials and banner advertisements, may be limited to certain portions of Univadis Web and mobile properties.

Advertising Guidelines

We have established the following guidelines to govern advertising on our web and mobile products:

  1. Univadis solely determines the acceptance of advertising to be displayed on our digital platforms.
  2. Univadis acceptance and display of advertising will under no circumstances be considered an endorsement of the products, services, or company connected to the advertisement.
  3. Univadis is not responsible for the accuracy of advertising content, but will not accept content that is known to be inaccurate.
  4. Univadis will not permit advertising related to the following categories:
    • Illegal products

    • Fraudulent or misleading material

    • Material that is offensive or is discriminatory
    • Alcohol or tobacco

    • Firearms or other weapons

    • Gambling

    • Pornography

    • Advertising targeted at non-healthcare professional, such as consumers or children.
  5. Univadis expressly avoids advertising with certain technical features, including:
    • Strobing or flashing elements
    • Advertising units that interfere with editorial content space by covering it without user initiation
    • Expandable advertising units that cannot be closed or minimized
    • Advertising that deceptively mimics computer or browser messages to the user
    • Advertising with any other type of information collection software, unless expressly approved in writing by Univadis.
  6. Univadis is not responsible for and will not monitor the advertiser's compliance with all laws and regulations applicable to its advertising, within the markets where its advertising appears on Univadis web and mobile properties. Univadis reserves the right to review advertising compliance at any time, and may remove advertising that is determined to be in breach of applicable laws and regulations.
  7. Clicks on an advertisement may lead only to other Univadis content or to the advertiser’s site or property. Links from advertisements may not lead directly to a registration or e-mail capture page.
  8. Univadis may at any time remove advertising from its web and mobile properties, and will immediately notify the advertiser when this happens, with an explanation.
  9. All advertising or sponsored content will be clearly identified.