What are arm's length arrangements?
It is possible for a company to sponsor material produced by an independent organisation which mentions its own products and not be liable under the Code for its contents, but only if, inter alia, there has been a strictly arm’s length arrangement between the parties.
In practical terms the arrangements must be such that there can be no possibility that the pharmaceutical company has been able to exert any influence or control over the final content of the material.
Factors which might mean there had not been a strictly arm’s length arrangement would include, but not be restricted to:
• Initiation of the material, or the concept for it, by the pharmaceutical company
• Influence from the pharmaceutical company on the content/balance/scope of the material
• Choice/or direct payment of the authors by the pharmaceutical company
• Influence from the pharmaceutical company on the list of persons to whom the material is sent.
Companies should remember that use of material for a promotional purpose will mean that material is subject to the Code.