Contributed By Pakharenko & Partners (Kyiv)
First of all, it is important to point out that there are no specific legal provisions regulating offering gifts to healthcare professionals by the pharmaceutical companies.
In accordance with the Law of Ukraine on Prevention of Corruption of 14 October 2014, 1700-VII, a gift is a cash or other property, benefits, services, intangible assets that are provided/received free of charge or at a price lower than the minimum market price.
Healthcare professionals, who are considered officials in accordance with the law, are forbidden to demand, request, receive gifts, directly or through other persons, for themselves or persons, close to them, from legal entities or individuals in connection with the exercise by such healthcare professionals of the activities related to the exercise of state or local self-government functions – also if the person who gives the gift is subordinate to such healthcare professional.
Officials may accept gifts that correspond to generally accepted perceptions of hospitality. First, if the cost of such gifts does not exceed the minimum subsistence for able-bodied persons, established on the day of acceptance of the gift (as of January 2019 = UAH1, 853, approximately EUR60). Second, the aggregate value of such gifts received from one person (group of persons) during the year should not exceed two minimum subsistence established for an able-bodied person on January 1st of the year in which the gift was accepted. This rule does not apply to gifts donated by close persons and received as public discounts on goods, services or as prizes/bonuses.
In the course of their professional activity, healthcare and pharmaceutical professionals are prohibited from receiving from the economic entities involved in manufacture and/or sale of medicines, their representatives, the samples of medicines, for use in professional activities (except for the cases related with conducting clinical trials of medicines or clinical tests of medical products based on the contracts), as it is stipulated in Article 78-1 of the Fundamentals of the Legislation of Ukraine on Health Care.
The Law on Advertising defines sponsorship as voluntary material, financial, organisational and other support by individuals and legal entities of any activity to promote solely its name, trade name and trade mark. Therefore, any other information shall be considered as advertising and the relevant legal provisions and restrictions shall apply in this case.
There are no specific legal provisions on sponsorship of scientific meetings or congresses and/or attendance by healthcare professionals to these events by the pharmaceutical companies.
Meetings and/or congresses are subject to the rules, applied to charitable activity, such situations shall be regulated by the Law of Ukraine on Charitable Activity and Charitable Organisations of 5 July 2012 No 5073-VI.
Pharmaceutical companies, based on the agreement with a charitable organisation (which meets the requirements of the Law of Ukraine on charitable activity and charitable organisations of 5 July 2012 No 5073-VI), may sponsor activities organised and conducted by charitable organisations.
There are no specific legal provisions on organising or sponsoring cultural, sports or other non-scientific events in relation to scientific conferences by the pharmaceutical companies. For further information please also see 9.3 Sponsorship of Scientific Meetings.
As a general rule, in accordance with Civil Code of Ukraine, donations may be provided for individuals or legal entities based on agreement.
There are no direct legal restrictions on grants or donations to healthcare professionals or healthcare institutions by pharmaceutical companies. However, the restrictions on gifts to healthcare professionals shall indeed apply in this case (please also see 9.1 Gifts to Healthcare Professionals).
Also, in accordance with the AIPM Code, pharmaceutical companies may make donations to non-commercial organisations for publicly beneficial purposes. Such donations may be in the form of educational grants made available to support medical education and ultimately intended to raise the quality of medical care provided to patient. It is prohibited to make donations in the form of cash. Pharmaceutical products may be provided to non-commercial medical organisations as donations unless such donations pursue any commercial purposes. What is important, no in-kind donations to non-commercial organisations are permitted if intended, directly or indirectly, for specific healthcare professionals or made in their interests. Donations may only be made on the basis of an appropriate written request from a non-commercial organisation and a relevant donation agreement.
General requirements of taxation and competition laws are applied. The provisions of anti-corruption legislation may be applied in the event that the discounts healthcare professionals receive are not generally available.
Payment is allowed under the following conditions: services that are provided during off-duty hours, subject to official employment, payment of taxes and real contracts (payment is adequate to the effect obtained).
Consent of the management and anti-corruption officer is required for the healthcare professional’s trips and participation in events. Public officials are required to obtain an order on participation in such activities, which must be approved by a compliance officer.