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Paying for interviews

Healthcare organizations or private service providers sometimes request that representatives or others pay for appointments with health professionals. When documented evidence of this is available, the PMCPA will write to the organization or provider concerned to highlight the requirements of the Code.  These include Clause 15.3​ that: ‘Representatives must not employ any inducement or subterfuge to gain an interview.  No fee should be paid or offered for the grant of an interview.’ and the supplementary information, Donations to Charities, which states that donations to charities in return for representatives gaining interviews are prohibited.  Further supplementary information to the same clause, headed Health Professionals’ Codes of Conduct, states that the GMC advises doctors that ‘You must not allow any interests you have to affect the way you prescribe for, treat, refer or commission services for patients’ and ‘You must not ask for or accept – from patients, colleagues or others – any inducement, gift or hospitality that may affect or be seen to affect the way you prescribe for, treat or refer patients or commission services for patients. You must not offer these inducements.'  Similar provisions are in the professional codes for pharmacists and nurses.
Companies receiving requests for inappropriate payments are invited to forward relevant documentation to the PMCPA.  The identity of the pharmaceutical company providing such information is not revealed to the organization or provider.