Clause 9: Interactions with Healthcare Professionals
Company-sponsored Training and Education and Medical Technology Demonstrations
We would like to arrange a visiting surgeon program. The program would involve surgeons visiting a surgeon who has experience with our company’s technology to view the use of the technology in procedures. What are the factors a company should consider in this situation?
Companies can arrange visiting surgeon programs under clause 9.2; considerations should include but are not limited to:
- whether there is a bona fide training need, and will the need be met at this activity
- surgeon selection criteria, both trainer and trainees
- appropriateness of the location
Can a company pay the host surgeon who is being visited under such a program?
Companies can contract with a host surgeon as a consultant. Clause 9.4 allows reasonable compensation to be paid for consulting services.
A Queensland HCP will be holidaying in Singapore and has heard about a Company sponsored training workshop in Shanghai in the same week. She has asked if she can register for the workshop as there isn’t an equivalent workshop in Brisbane. Can the company fund the HCP to the workshop under The Code?
The company can invite the HCP to attend a company sponsored training workshop if a legitimate need for the HCP to receive the training exists. A Company can pay reasonable travel costs. It would not be reasonable to fund the HCP's trip from Australia to China given that they will already be in Singapore for personal reasons. It is reasonable to arrange modest travel and accommodation so that the HCP can travel from Singapore to Shanghai return for the training workshop.
If we hold company training adjacent in time and location to a third party educational conference, can we fund HCPs to attend the training or could this be considered indirectly funding the HCPs to the conference?
Companies can fund a HCP to attend genuine company-sponsored training and education as long as no part of that funding can be construed as directly sponsoring an individual HCP to attend an adjacent third-party conference. HCPs who would like to attend the adjacent company-sponsored training and the third-party educational conference must fund any required travel to and from the location themselves; the company should only fund any additional accommodation required to attend the company sponsored training.
Can we offer training and education on topics such as supply chain management to hospitals?
The Code permits companies to provide training and education, which is defined as the provision of educational material, product specification material, lectures and training sessions to HCPs in relation to medical technologies. Training and education which does not relate to medical technologies may be construed as a gift or benefit in breach of The Code.
In relation to supply chain management, training would have to be justified based on relevance to an individual company’s Medical Technologies.
Are ski resorts and tropical islands permitted for company training and education sessions for HCPs? Is there an approved list of venues?
The Code requires that company-sponsored training and education is conducted in a clinical, educational, conference or other settings that is conducive to the effective transmission of knowledge and is not selected because of its leisure or recreational facilities. The geographic location selected should not become the main attraction of the event. It should be centrally located with regard to the place of origin of the invited participants. The agenda must be educationally robust.
The choice of venue must also uphold professional and public standards of ethics and good taste. Holding company training at a well-known tourist destination may well attract negative public perception and complaints, regardless of the specific venue chosen for company training. This risk is heightened if the training will be held during a recognised tourist season at the location, such as ski season. Companies may find it useful to consider both the venue and surrounding town/region when deciding whether the training and education will meet The Code’s requirement of being held in a setting that is conducive to learning and is not renowned primarily as a holiday destination. There is no approved list of venues.
Third Party Educational Conferences
I am a conference organiser and I am organising a third-party conference for HCPs at a resort location overseas. Can Medical Technology companies sponsor this event?
The primary consideration should be the agenda and the quality of the education that will be provided.
Companies should consider the image that may be projected to the public when deciding whether to support a conference. This includes whether an ordinary member of the public would consider that the conference is going to be for the genuine purpose of promoting scientific knowledge, medical advancement or the delivery of effective healthcare.
Can we offer refreshments at our trade display at a third party educational conference?
Yes, you may offer refreshments as long as it does not draw attendees away from the planned conference and it complies with the provisions in clause 9.5