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Product samples may, however, be used to serve patients’ interests in certain circumstances.For example, they allow prescribing doctors to evaluate an initial clinical response to a medication and/or permit them to initiate immediate therapy.12.2 Distribution of samples should not involve any material gain for the doctor or for the practice with which he or she is associated.For example, a medical technology company may provide doctors with ‘hands-on’ education and training, supervision and technical support to demonstrate and advise doctors on the proper use of new tools, product or techniques.8.2 Where industry organises a training program, the relevant company should take full responsibility for the organisation and promotion of the meeting and ensure it is made clear that the meeting is sponsored and organised by the company. Hospitality and entertainment9.1 The acceptance of hospitality (the provision of food and beverages) in relation to a professional meeting or educational activity may be appropriate so long as the hospitality is secondary to the purpose of the meeting and not disproportionate in nature.9.2 Entertainment is the provision by industry of activities with no associated professional education (eg., tickets to a sporting event).Doctors should be aware that entertainment is provided for promotional purposes and this may influence their behaviour. Use of professional status to promote the interests of industry10.1 Some doctors who are regarded by industry as having particular influence within the professional and wider community may be asked to make public comments supporting a certain therapeutic product or procedure.These individuals are sometimes referred to by industry as ‘key opinion leaders’ and have an extra level of responsibility to ensure their professional status is not used to promote the interests of industry over patients’ interests or to promote products or procedures that are not evidence-based. Remuneration for services11.1 Doctors who provide a service for industry should ensure that any advice they provide is objective, balanced and evidence-based.11.2 It is appropriate for doctors who provide a service to industry to receive remuneration for that service.This may include doctors who are industry employees, consultants to industry or serve on an industry advisory board.11.3 Any remuneration received by a doctor should not exceed that which is commensurate with the work involved. Product samples12.1 Product samples may be considered to be a marketing exercise by industry to accustom a doctor to prescribe a particular product or to influence a patient’s preference for a particular product.Where this occurs, it should be made clear that a breakout session is sponsored by a particular company and should adhere to the guidance below on ‘meetings and activities organised by industry’.7.10 At some meetings, industry trade displays are on exhibit, often where meeting participants gather for communal purposes (such as where food and beverages are served).
Patients and the wider community expect doctors to uphold this duty and put patients’ interests above their own personal interests or the interests of industry.1.5 Doctors’ relationships with industry should:1.6 Professional autonomy and clinical independence is an essential component of high - quality medical care as well as medical professionalism.
Doctors participating in a surveillance study should:6.6 It is ethically acceptable for doctors to receive remuneration for participation in approved studies when such participation involves a significant amount of professional time and skill over and above that applied directly to patient care.
This remuneration should be commensurate with the work involved including the time expenditure, complexity of the study and skill required.
This includes (but is not limited to) the pharmaceutical industry, medical device and technology industry, other health care product suppliers, health care facilities, medical services such as pathology, radiology and assisted reproductive technologies and other health services such as pharmacy and physiotherapy (herein ‘industry’).1.2 While the relationship between doctors and industry benefits patients and the wider public health, individual doctors (and institutions) may benefit financially or otherwise from these relationships.
It is essential that doctors manage such relationships appropriately to avoid actual and perceived conflicts of interest which can undermine public confidence and trust in the medical profession.1.3 Public trust and confidence in the medical profession is essential for ensuring people access medical care.