Clause 9.8: Competitions for Healthcare Professionals

We are exhibiting at an upcoming conference. The conference organisers want to run a competition involving exhibitors who pay an additional amount. Delegates who visit all the stands of participating exhibitors go into the draw to win a tablet computer. Is this permitted under the Code?

When a company conducts a competition for healthcare professionals, the requirements of clause 9.8 apply. The Code does not have specific provisions about companies participating in competitions organised by third parties, such as conference organisers. As such, the Code does not prohibit companies from participating in competitions of this type.

Can we run a competition where the winning participant chooses a charity that our company then makes a charitable donation to?

Possibly. The Code requires that competition prizes are directly relevant to the practice of medicine or field of other specialist healthcare and of minimal monetary value (less than $100), or of an educational nature. A prize of cinema tickets or wine, for instance, would not be appropriate.

Provided the healthcare professional does not receive a tangible benefit (such as a tax deduction) from the donation, this would not be inconsistent with the general principles of the Code. Clause 9.9g prohibits a company from making a donation or philanthropic gift for the purpose of inducing a healthcare professional to act a particular way.

Can we run a competition where the prize is a $500 education grant?

No. While the Code allows competition prizes to be ‘items of an educational nature’ this refers to prizes where the item itself is educational. The Code also prohibits companies from giving educational grants directly to individual HCPs or practitioners in training. Companies can only make grants to institutions and would also need to check that the institution meets the other requirements in clause 9.9 before offering any grant.