Clause 9.7: Gifts between Companies and Healthcare Professionals

This flowchart summarises the Medical Technology Industry Code standards on providing items to HCPs for the benefit of patients, or which serve a genuine educational function.

Can we give out a branded mouse pad or wall planner if it has useful information on it, such as conference dates?

No. Companies are not permitted to give HCPs non-educational branded promotional items (this restriction does not apply in relation to products marketed only to consumers). In terms of a wall planner or mouse pad, the items themselves are not educational. The wall planner is primarily used for recording appointments while the mouse pad helps when using a computer. Including conference dates may be of some interest to the HCP but doesn’t make the items themselves an educational item. In addition, because items such as these will be displayed fairly prominently if used by the HCP, they could be argued to be promotional items if they are branded in any way.

Can we give HCPs a non-branded USB with educational files on it?

Yes. If the USB was preloaded with files which served a genuine educational function for the HCP then it would be consistent with clause 9.7(a) of the Code.

The USB cannot be branded because it is not, itself, an educational item and non-educational branded promotional items are not permitted under the Code.

Can we give out unbranded items of minimal value like pens and notepads?

No. Companies can only give HCPs occasional items which either benefit patients or serve a genuine educational function for the HCP. There is also a $100 limit except in the case of medical textbooks and anatomical models. Items such as the following do not meet the Code’s requirements and are not permitted to be given away to HCPs:

  • Mugs
  • Stationery such as pens or notepads
  • Alcohol, chocolates or flowers.

If we sponsor a third party conference, the organisers will arrange lanyards and conference backpacks with our company branding on them. Is this allowed?

No. Companies are not allowed to give healthcare professionals non-educational branded promotional items, even if they are of minimal value and related to the HCP's work or are for the benefit of patients. The Code makes no exception for items given out at third party educational conferences.

Does the prohibition on non-educational branded promotional items apply to company branding or just product branding?

The Code’s prohibition on non-educational branded promotional items includes both company branding and product branding.

What sort of items qualify as branded educational items?

Examples include training videos, textbooks and anatomical models.