Clause 9.4: Arrangements with Healthcare Professionals actings as Consultants

We have engaged a healthcare professional (HCP) as a consultant to travel overseas to facilitate a two day company training session. Can the HCP arrive the night before the training session and leave the day after the training session or would this be a prohibited side trip?

If the travel arrangement will give the consultant periods of personal or private benefit during the trip, then the arrangement is not permitted under the Code.

If the travel arrangement is linked to the proper performance of the consultancy services, such as allowing the consultant reasonable rest before performing the consultancy services, then it is within the Code. Companies need to assess what is reasonable in the circumstances of each consulting arrangement.

Can we engage a healthcare professional as a consultant to speak at an international third party conference and pay their associated expenses?

Companies cannot make direct payments to HCPs to speak at third party educational conferences. They are only allowed to provide sponsorship to a conference organiser, which can then be used to provide support for a speaker as part of the expenses for the conference.

Companies are allowed to engage HCPs as consultants to speak at or facilitate a company sponsored symposium which is held as part of a third party educational conference. Such a consultancy agreement should only be entered into where there is a genuine need for the HCP to speak at or facilitate the symposium. It would be inconsistent with the Code to engage a HCP as a consultant in order to circumvent the Code’s restrictions on direct individual sponsorship of HCPs to third party conferences.

In addition, clause 9.4 still applies to HCPs who are engaged to speak at symposiums such that companies can only pay reasonable and actual travel, modest hospitality and lodging costs.

We have engaged a healthcare professional from Sydney as a consultant to speak at a company training event in Brisbane. The HCP has asked us to facilitate a ‘side trip’ after the consultancy so she can have a weekend in Byron Bay before flying back to Sydney. Is this permitted?

No. The Code allows for the provision of reasonable and actual expenses incurred by a consultant in carrying out the engagement. It does not permit companies to facilitate a side trip for any other purpose, even if the side trip is at no further cost to the company.