Pharmaceutical Code of Conduct

Code of Professional Conduct, Farmindustria, 20141<

PARENT AND ASSOCIATE COMPANIES: Should the parent or associate company of a company that operates in Italy invite Italian physicians to attend events within or outside of Italy, the company which operates in Italy will be responsible for the behavior of its parent or associate company. (1.7)

General Guidelines: The following guidelines are applicable to international, national and regional meetings. Local scientific meetings have a separate set of guidelines that are also noted below. 

DESTINATION/VENUE: Meetings or congresses cannot be directly or indirectly organized by a company outside of Italy unless it is mainly attended by Italian physicians (3.4). The venue should never be chosen for its touristic capabilities and for meetings organized directly by the Company, the Company must submit the scientific, organizational and logistical reasons for their choice to the Supervisory Committee (3.5). Further, events cannot take place in seaside resorts from June 1st to September 30th or from July 1st to August 31st for mountainous resorts (3.8). 

INVITED HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS: Physicians who have been invited by a pharmaceutical company to attend an Event must provide their express consent to provide their name and date of birth to the Supervisory Committee as proof of compliance with laws regulating the obligation to inform of their participation in sponsored visits to Events. This is only applicable to company laboratory visits and limited to direct recruitment of HCPs by companies (3.2). Invitations to attend conferences/congresses shall be relevant to the specialization of the physician invited (3.6). 

TRAVEL: Air travel must be in economy-class only for Events within Italy or abroad. Business class can be offered only to speakers and moderators included in the official program for international flights lasting longer than 6 consecutive hours. All travel classes except Executive are allowed for rail transportation. (3.3)

ACCOMMODATIONS: Category of hotel accommodations must be 4-stars or less (3.3)

LENGTH OF STAYHospitality cannot be extended beyond a 12-hour time period before and after the event and hospitality cannot have characteristics that overshadows the scientific characteristics of the Event. (3.12)

MEALSSocial dinners organized by the conference for participants are acceptable and are to be included in the registration fee of the conference. Companies cannot arrange or sponsor autonomous initiatives with social, cultural or touristic purposes, including gala dinners (3.14). For all events in Italy, 60 Euro per meal per participant for each day of the congress is allowed. For events held abroad, the threshold set by the Code in that country will be observed; otherwise the limit will be 60 Euro per meal per participant for each day. Meals should be offered at the hotel where guests are staying or at contiguous structures (3.16). 

HOSPITALITY: Hospitality costs can only be extended for CME Events held in Italy for general practitioners, hospital pharmacists, pharmacists of the territory, and where applicable, nurses (3.13). Hospitality cannot be extended to persons other than those invited (3.14). Hospitality must be limited to travel, accommodation, and registration fees (3.16). 

SPONSORSHIP: Healthcare professionals cannot be sponsored more than twice a year to attend a company laboratory visit unless they are speakers or moderators (3.3). At least 10% of sponsored healthcare professionals must be under the age of 40 for non-CME conferences in Italy and abroad (3.11). 

OTHER: Non-CME events organized by Companies in Italy must last for at least or more than 6 hours per day. (3.15)

PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS: Materials distributed during conferences will be of negligible value and relevant to the physician’s or pharmacist’s profession. All materials should have the name of the medicinal product and/or the name of the active ingredient and/or the name of the pharmaceutical company. (3.17) 

WEB-BASED EVENTS: Companies cannot provide any hospitality for web-based meetings (3.18)

LOCAL SCIENTIFIC MEETINGS: These meetings can only be sponsored by pharmaceutical companies if they qualify for CME credits and must be held in venues that can ensure scientific value of the event such as hospitals, universities, and scientific foundations. If the event is set to last for less than 6 hours, a coffee break is appropriate; where the event will take over 6 hours, a small meal is acceptable. (3.9)

DISCLOSURE OF TRANSFERS OF VALUE: Pharmaceutical companies must disclose transfers of value to healthcare professionals and healthcare organizations on an annual basis and published on the company’s website. All data must be kept for at least 3 years and consensus must be requested from the Healthcare Professional for disclosure of data (5.1). The first reporting period is 2015 and will be made available in 2016 (5.3). 

DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS: Disclosure on an individual basis should include expenses for participating at congresses and conferences including registration fees, travel and accommodation (excluding meals and drinks) and expenses for consultancy and professional activities resulting from a specific contract between the Company and HCP. Consensus should be obtained from HCPs for the disclosure of information. If consensus is not obtained, the information will be disclosed in aggregate form. (5.5) 

DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATIONS: Disclosure of transfers of value to Healthcare Organizations shall include donations and grants both in cash and benefits in kind, direct or indirect contribution to Congress events, and economic transactions related to consultancy and professional activities resulting from a contractual agreement between the company and organization. (5.6) 

  • 1.< Farmindustria. Code of Professional Conduct. 2014.