Hospitality and Entertainment

Hospitality and Entertainment

Clause 9.5: Hospitality and Entertainment

This flowchart summarises the Medical Technology Industry Code standards on providing Hospitality during interactions with HCPs.

Can a Company representative regularly bring coffee and cake to share with the surgical team when providing daily case coverage?

Hospitality must be incidental to the presentation of scientific, educational or commercial information. Provision of hospitality such as refreshments should not be made in a manner that may create an expectation that it is a routine occurrence. The primary requirement is that any hospitality is modest and subordinate in focus to the primary intent of the meeting.

Can a Company representative provide hospitality to hospital staff if they are visiting to demonstrate a new product?

Yes. If a company employee visits a hospital to conduct a product demonstration, modest hospitality could be provided if it was incidental to the educational presentation.

Is taking a Healthcare Professional to dinner at a restaurant considered within the boundaries of the Code?

There are several factors to take into account when considering whether such hospitality meets the requirements of the Code. The first consideration is the reason for the dinner.  Is it for the purpose of educating the healthcare professional or explaining a new medical technology?  If so, has this objective been documented beforehand? After the dinner, have you made notes of the topics discussed and any follow up required?  Finally, would a reasonable person consider the cost of the dinner was modest in the circumstances? By making sure you can answer ‘Yes’ to all of these questions, you can help ensure that the dinner will not be found to be an improper inducement offered to the healthcare professional.

We have bought a table at a charity fundraiser to raise funds for medical supplies for outback communities. Can we invite healthcare professionals to be guests at our table?

You can invite healthcare professionals to sit at your company’s table at a charity fundraiser but they would need to pay for themselves and any guests they’d like to bring. Under the Code, companies can only offer hospitality to healthcare professionals in limited circumstances which are:

  • in the context of a third party educational conference;
  • where there is an educational element or a medical technology demonstration; or
  • as an occasional courtesy in conjunction with business interactions involving the presentation of scientific, educational or commercial information.

Does the Code allow companies to give conference delegates branded disposable coffee cups and water bottles?

A company must not give a healthcare professional any type of non-educational branded promotional item, even if the item is of minimal value. As such, food and beverages should not feature product or company branding. The Code permits company or product branding on items that serve a genuine educational purpose only.

Under the Medical Technology Code of Practice, what does the terms “modest” hospitality mean?

The Code does not place a threshold for expenditure on hospitality because this may be too restrictive to address all possible scenarios and sets perverse incentives. The Code therefore provides for: “A company may pay for modest Hospitality for attending Healthcare Professionals”.

The term ‘modest’ will vary in specific circumstances. Companies are therefore encouraged to develop their own internal standards which address a range of typical scenarios for the provision of hospitality both locally and off shore. Provision of hospitality at international venues should be appropriate to the region. Actual expenditure will naturally vary by location, but should continue to be modest and reasonable by Australian standards. 

How much is considered to be “modest” hospitality?

In most circumstances, when providing hospitality to a healthcare professional, the maximum cost of the meal (including beverages, service charges, GST and any other local taxes) should not exceed $150. However, as noted above, this is an indicative threshold and may vary in specific circumstances.

Where hospitality exceeds this threshold, companies should clarify the reason when reporting to the Code Panel.

What type of airfare is considered appropriate for Healthcare Professionals (HCPs)?

There is no threshold for the value of airfares provided by companies for HCPs, as this would be too restrictive to address all possible circumstances.

However, companies should not provide first-class travel for HCPs. Business class travel is only appropriate for a flight that exceeds four hours.

What is considered to be an appropriate level for provision of alcoholic beverages?

There is no set threshold for the value of alcoholic beverages provided by companies for hospitality for HCPs as this would be too restrictive to address all possible circumstances. However, companies should firstly ensure that it is appropriate to serve alcohol at a particular event. Secondly, the total cost of alcoholic beverages should be modest and proportional to the total value of the meal and any other hospitality provided. Most importantly, it is self-evident that the provision of alcohol must not interfere with the educational component of the program and not negatively impact the expected educational outcomes of the event. Above all, the safety and competence of attendees who may have to drive or work after the event must be given careful consideration.