Molecular Imaging News
August 4, 2005
A New Code Of Ethics For Manufacturers of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Equipment
National Electrical Manufacturers Association
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and its members have adopted a new code of ethics for 2005 and beyond. The new code sets forth the parameters of ethical interactions between members and health care providers and changes their interactions. The code is briefly summarized below.
Product Training and Education: While member-sponsored product training and education are essential, some aspects of these programs are changed under the new code. Training will be conducted in facilities conducive to the effective transmission of knowledge, such as medical facilities or member training sites. Modest hospitality may be provided in the form of meals and receptions, but sporting event tickets, theater tickets, golf fees, or similar entertainment are not acceptable. Members may pay for the reasonable entertainment, travel, and lodging costs related to these programs for health care providers, but not for the guests or spouses of health care providers.
Educational Conferences: The code allows continued support of third party educational conferences. Members may provide educational grants, including grants for faculty expenses, but the code does not permit this funding to be provided directly to a health care provider. Members may (1) provide funding to the conference sponsor to support the conference’s meals, hospitality, and entertainment; (2) provide modest meals, receptions, and entertainment for all health care provider attendees if subordinate in time and focus to the purpose of the conference and if consistent with the conference sponsor’s guidelines; (3) make grants to the conference sponsor for reasonable honoraria, travel, lodging, and meals for faculty expenses; and (4) purchase advertisements and lease booth space for company displays at the conference.
Sales and Promotional Meetings: Sales and promotional meetings between members and health care providers continue to be recognized as important. The code states that hospitality provided by a member must be (1) modest and subordinate in time and focus to the purpose of the meeting; (2) conducive to the exchange of information; and (3) in the form of a modest meal. Reasonable travel costs may be paid to health care providers in limited circumstances, such as travel to see demonstrations of non-portable equipment. Members may not pay for health care providers’ guests’ or family members’ travel, meals, hospitality, or lodging costs.
Consulting Arrangements: Health care providers serving as consultants to members provide a variety of bona fide services. The code provides that (1) these arrangements must be in writing and be signed by both parties; (2) compensation must be at fair market value for the services rendered, and cannot be related to the volume of business generated by the health care provider or its affiliate; (3) travel expenses must be reasonable; (4) the meeting must be conducted in clinical or educational settings conducive to the effective exchange of information; and (5) hospitality provided must be modest and subordinate in time and focus to the primary purpose of the meeting. Sporting event/entertainment tickets or golf are not permitted.
Gifts: Members may only provide health care providers with (1) gifts benefiting patients or serving a genuine educational function with a value of less than $100; and (2) branded promotional items of minimal value related to the health care provider’s work or benefiting patients. Members may not give health care providers cash or cash equivalents, including gift certificates.
Charitable Donations: The code permits members to make donations for a charitable purpose, such as advancing medical or public education. Such charitable donations (1) cannot be made directly to health care providers; (2) must be made only to qualifying charitable organizations; and (3) may not be made if the proposed donation is, in any way, linked to a past, present, or future purchase, lease, recommendation, or use of a member’s products.
Research Grants: Members may continue to provide research grants to health care providers. However (1) the research must be legitimate and well defined in a written agreement, and (2) funding must not be linked to, or contingent upon, past, present, or future sales of a member’s product or services to the health care provider.