Contributed By Jones Day
Pharmaceutical companies are allowed to sponsor scientific meetings or congresses and/or attendance by healthcare professionals to these events, but only in a limited capacity and in strict compliance with the Fair Competition Code and the JPMA Promotion Code.
With regard to a seminar for healthcare professionals concerning a pharmaceutical company’s own drugs, the company can provide non-extravagant articles or services and can bear some related expenses. For example, companies may provide tea and snacks or lunch boxes, hold small social gatherings, cover transportation and accommodation expenses and compensate the lecturer. The seminar should be held in an appropriate place in light of its –purposes it would be sensible to avoid a resort, a place for sightseeing or a location overseas for this reason (the JPMA Promotion Code expressly provides that pharmaceutical companies shall, in principle, hold such seminars in Japan). Even if such seminars are permitted to take place abroad, the payment of travel expenses must be limited to the travel expenses of healthcare professionals who will provide information on the company’s drugs to all participants. Where a pharmaceutical company hosts a seminar unrelated to its own drugs, only meeting expenses may be paid.
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