within the MedTech Europe/Confindustria Dispositivi Medici Code of Ethics
Educational Grants are the tool promoted and regulated by MedTech Europe (and also adopted by Confindustria Dispositivi Medici in Italy) to avoid the conflict of interest of Companies in the medical-health sector in inviting a Health Professional employed by a Public Health Body, who may be a client of the Company itself.
The Educational Grants derive from the application of the MedTech Europe Code of Ethics as of 1 January 2018, transposed in Italy first by Assobiomedica, then in the Code of Ethics of Confindustria Dispositivi Medici.
The Educational Grants are intended to increase transparency in the sponsorship process of Healthcare Professionals participating in events organised by Third Parties, by companies producing medical products.
Companies operating in the Medical Devices, Healthcare Diagnostics and Biomedical Technology sectors are prohibited from providing direct economic support to Healthcare Professionals to finance the costs of participation in training activities organised by Third Parties.
These Companies may, however, provide their economic support indirectly, i.e. by purchasing sponsorship packages for participants and entering into a contract with a Third Party Company (whether or not the Professional Conference Organiser).
N.B Companies may only sponsor events that comply with the Conference Evaluation System (SVC), which requires them to verify the scientific nature of the programme and the sobriety of the venue and organisation.
WHO ARE THE THIRD-PARTY COMPANIES?
Third-Party Companies are companies, CME Providers, medical-scientific associations, or entities that have developed the logistical and organisational skills to manage delegations of participants in a manner that complies with national and international regulations and compliance with the MedTech Europe and Confindustria Dispositivi Medici Codes of Ethics.
Third-party companies may involve an organisational/administrative partner in the management of this form of sponsorship, which must however comply with all the rules of the Code of Ethics.
SELECTION OF HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS
Sponsoring Companies may not
– indicate the name of the Healthcare Professional they intend to finance to Third Party Companies;
– enter into agreements with the Entities to which the Healthcare Professionals belong to select the same;
– become aware of the name of the Healthcare Professional selected by the Entity and transmitted to the Third Party Company.
Sponsoring Companies may
– define in the sponsorship contract with Third Party Companies the category and/or geographical area and/or healthcare facility to which the Healthcare Professional belongs to whom the contribution is to be allocated. However, these indications must not lead back to an individual/specific Healthcare Professional.
Alternatively, contributions may be addressed directly to the Third Party Organiser of the event, leaving a free choice in the selection of the professionals to be invited;
– request at the end of the event the list of all the participants in the event sponsored by all the companies at the end of the event (obviously there will be no link with the sponsoring companies in the list). MZ Events, to respect the principle of the Code of Ethics, will provide this list when there are at least three companies that have sponsored Educational Grants.
OPERATIONAL PROCEDURE in brief
1. The Company defines with the Third Party Company the sponsorship package for several participants in an event and concludes the relevant contract.
2. The Company informs the Third Party Company of the profiling of the preferred Healthcare Professionals.
3. The Third Party Company sends a letter of invitation to the Entity to which the Healthcare Professional belongs with an indication of the profiling to be selected.
4. The Entity communicates to the Third Party Company – in writing – the name of the selected Healthcare Professional.*
5. The Third Party Company sends an official letter of invitation to the Health Professional with an indication of the services that will be offered through the sponsor, who remains anonymous (Example: registration to the conference, hotel accommodation, and travel).
6. At the end of the event, the Third Party Company will send the Company the financial statement of the sponsorship for a possible return to the Company or allocation to a different Educational Grant for another Course or Conference.
This last point of the MedTech Code of Ethics, which MZ Events wants to respect, unfortunately, contrasts with the official ECM legislation (remember that MZ Events is an ECM Provider accredited by the Ministry of Health) which foresees the complete economic management of the ECM accredited event by the Provider promoter and organiser of the scientific event. MZ Events when presented with 2 conflicting norms (Code of Ethics and CME legislative norm) must give priority to the respect of the latter.
*If the Institution communicates that it has no Health Professionals to select or if the Health Professional refuses the invitation, a replacement profiling will be requested from the Company.
THE ADVICE OF MZ EVENTS
PLAY IT FORWARD:
The sponsorship request must be received at least a couple of months before the event for the grant to be managed correctly and efficiently. In particular, if the grant includes the management of accommodation and travel arrangements, it is a good idea to request services early to find availability and more favorable rates.
Furthermore, it is essential that the profiling is also sent as soon as possible. Organisations have long lead times for selecting health professionals due to cumbersome internal bureaucracy. If we send late/last-minute invitations, we risk that the grant will not go through.
To meet the needs/requirements of the Sponsor Companies, we advise the Companies themselves to send us a very complete profiling document that includes as many details as possible (obviously in compliance with the rules of the Code of Ethics mentioned above).
Example of accurate and acceptable profiling:
Medical Director of the Department of Microbiology and Virology of the ASST Ovest Milanese.
Examples of profiling that cannot be taken into account:
Head of the Department of Microbiology and Virology of the ASST Ovest Milanese.
In this case, the profiling cannot be accepted as we need to remind you that profiling must not lead back to a single/specific Healthcare Professional.
Chiara Fiordimondo (Professional Congress Consultant Organiser)