Title I - PROVISIONS OF THE CODE
CHAPTER II - Interaction with Healthcare Professionals and Organizations
11. SCIENTIFIC AND PROFESSIONAL MEETINGS5
The following rules will be applied to all types of Events that are organized or sponsored by a pharmaceutical company or under its control and to all participants in said Events, be they Healthcare Professionals or any other persons who, in exercising their professions, may perform or influence the activities of prescribing, purchasing, distributing, dispensing or administering a medicine.
11.1. Pharmaceutical companies may organize or collaborate in Events that are exclusively of a scientific-professional nature. Organizing or collaborating in Events that contain elements of entertainment or entertainment activities or are of a recreational nature is prohibited. The welcome cocktail, working luncheons and gala dinners that normally occur within official programs at scientific conferences and meetings are not included in this prohibition provided they are reasonable and moderate and do not include additional elements (cultural, leisure or entertainment, etc.). In all cases, a maximum cost of 60 Euro (including taxes) per guest applies for any form of hospitality associated with meals. Payment for a meal that costs more than the maximum threshold mentioned above will be considered a breach of the Code. For Events that take place outside of Spain, the maximum threshold established by the National Association of the country where the Event occurs will apply. Therefore, for hospitality offered outside of Spain involving meals, the general rule provided for in article 19.4 ("If there is a conflict between rules of the different applicable codes for a given activity, the most strict or restrictive rule will apply") will not be applicable.
Payment to Healthcare Professionals for any form of hospitality that takes place at the margins of a scientific-professional context is considered to be an activity/ practice that is a breach of the Code
11.2. Hospitality at professional or scientific Events must always be reasonable and the cost must not exceed the cost the Recipients would be willing to pay in the same circumstances. The concept of hospitality includes the real costs of travel, registration and accommodation that are paid by the company. These costs must be moderate and not exaggerated and will be applied to the days in which the scientific meeting is planned. In this regard, hospitality may not be extended beyond what is reasonable for conducting the Event, nor may it include sponsorship or organization of entertainment activities (sports, leisure activities, etc.).
Hospitality must always be accessory to the primary object of the meeting. The scientific objectives must constitute the primary focus in the organization of these meetings. Hospitality offered by a pharmaceutical company must be limited to including strictly necessary logistical means, in all cases reasonable and moderate, that allow the Healthcare Professional to attend the Event and not any other expenses.
11.3. Hospitality may not be extended to persons other than Healthcare Professionals.
11.4. Payments must not be made to physicians or groups of physicians, either directly or indirectly, to rent rooms for meetings unless it is duly accredited that the payments are for meetings of a scientific or professional nature.
11.5. When meetings, conferences, symposia and similar Events are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, this fact will appear on all documents related to the meeting in addition to any type of essay, paper or document that is published in relation to them.
11.6. Payment of reasonable honoraria and reimbursement of personal expenses, including travel, is acceptable to moderators and speakers at these meetings, conferences, symposia and similar Events of a professional or scientific nature.
11.7. Pharmaceutical companies established in Spain that belong to business groups with headquarters or subsidiaries or, in general, associated companies located in foreign countries will be responsible for compliance with this Code by these affiliated companies for all activities related to promotion or interaction with Healthcare Professionals who conduct their professional activities in Spain, whether they are invited to a foreign country or to other Events that take place within Spain.
11.8. Meetings and Events of a scientific or promotional nature, organized or sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, must be previously communicated in accordance with the stipulations of Title II, Rules of Procedure of the Control Bodies.
11.9. Failure to communicate a meeting or Event of a scientific and promotional nature, when its communication is obligatory, will constitute a breach of this Code.
11.10. Companies may not organize or sponsor Events that take place outside of Spain (international Events) unless it makes more sense from a logistical standpoint, because:
a) the majority of invited participants are from a foreign country; or because
b) a resource or relevant expertise is located in a foreign country and it is the object or subject matter of the Event. This assumption (b) must receive prior authorization from the Code of Practice Surveillance Unit.
In the case of organizing or sponsoring International Events, in addition to the Spanish Code, companies must also respect the specific stipulations of the Code of Practice of the country in which the Event will take place, as established in article 19.4.
11.11. Companies must comply with the criteria found in the applicable codes with regard to selecting and sponsoring Healthcare Professionals to attend Events.
11.12. In no case may money be offered to compensate merely for the time spent by Healthcare Professionals in attending the Event.
Regarding organizing scientific and professional meetings, a company must not settle for formal compliance with a given criterion in an isolated manner. The behavior of the companies must be guided by two fundamental principles:
1. The quality of the scientific-professional programme must be the main focus of interest of the Event.
2. The location chosen for holding the Event must be appropriate and the levels of hospitality reasonable.
These two criteria are easily summed up in one statement: Ask yourself if, as the company organizing the meeting, you would like all of the details of the meeting to be widely known publicly in, for example, the media. If the answer is yes, the meeting is surely in line with the provisions of the Code.
11.1. – 11.2. Besides being moderate and secondary to the main purpose of the meeting, hospitality offered within the framework of congresses and scientific meetings should avoid situations that could result in an inappropriate image for the pharmaceutical industry.
In this regard, the company must ensure that the location where the scientific meeting takes place conveys a suitable image. Therefore, locations which are solely touristic or associated solely or primarily with leisure, recreational or sporting activities should be avoided. The locations where the activities take place should be selected by taking into account ease of travel for the participants, costs, and the suitability and appearance of the location.
Travel times to the location where the Event takes place will be adjusted to the duration of the scientific meeting. Therefore, planning the trip will depend on the scientific programme, avoiding modification of the plan before or after the Event takes place in consideration of activities different from the meeting itself (cultural or recreational).
In this regard, hospitality may only be extended to the day after or before the Event, in accordance with efficient travel planning. Physicians may extend their stay in the destination location whenever the additional costs of accommodation, travel and subsistence incurred by said extension are charged to the physician and does not involve any change to the initial program for the majority of participants.
The companies will be directly responsible for paying the necessary expenses (registrations, airline or train tickets, hotels, meals, etc.) for the participation of the Healthcare Professionals in courses, conferences and scientific meetings, and may use intermediary agencies if the complexity of the Event justifies their use. No monetary reimbursement can be made to the Healthcare Professional for expenses incurred to suppliers that should have been paid directly by the company, except in the case of minor costs for travel (taxis, mileage, etc.) with appropriate justification of said expenses.
The provision of travel grants in cash or similar to Healthcare Personnel invited to conferences or meetings are not considered acceptable.
The scientific content at conferences and meetings must take up the majority of the duration of the Event with a minimum of 60% of each working day.
In case of doubt, an 8-hour working day will be calculated. Excluded from this is time needed for travel, which must be the most direct travel possible
As a summary of this section, it is important that companies value the appearance and content of the Event. A useful criterion for evaluating compliance with the Code is to ask whether the company would like all of the details of the organization of the Event to be widely known publicly.
11.3. If Healthcare Professionals who are authorized to administer medicines participate in conferences and scientific meetings, the same rules on hospitality that apply to Healthcare Professionals authorized to prescribe or dispense medicines will apply.
The presence of accompanying persons at Events organized by the industry should not be allowed, even when they pay their own expenses, as this can damage the image of the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry should not participate or collaborate in Events organized by third parties if these parties promote the attendance of accompanying persons.
11.6. With regard to the payment of fees, market prices and number of hours worked or the service actually provided must be taken into account. Any remuneration for services rendered (papers, presentations, etc.) by Healthcare Professionals shall be made directly by the pharmaceutical company and documented by means of a contract and an original invoice that the pharmaceutical company must register in its files for possible inspection. Except in justified cases, no agreements will be made to make payments to Healthcare Professionals through third parties.
11.8 – 11.9. The communication of Events is intended to facilitate the monitoring work of the Code of Practice Surveillance Unit. In no case should this be understood as implying authorization. The companies continue to be solely responsible for compliance with the Code in these
Events, regardless of whether or not they are communicated previously to the Code of Practice Surveillance Unit.
Events where prior communication is not obligatory will still be subject to the Code in all cases.
11.10. – 11.11. For the purposes of this article, scientific and professional Events may be organized or sponsored in the Principality of Andorra under the same conditions that apply to any part of Spain.
5 Adapted to the new wording of article 10 of the EFPIA HCP Code.