Can companies participate in exhibition passport schemes or treasure hunts proposed by conference organisers?

The idea is usually that delegates are given a conference 'passport' upon which they can collect stamps from each exhibitor by visiting their stands. Passports with a full set of stamps are then placed in a prize raffle, typically for a Kindle or iPad mini etc.

Pharmaceutical companies participating in passport competitions, treasure hunts or the like risk breaching the Code as delegates will be required to visit their stands, which will almost certainly be promoting medicines, to collect passport stickers. In the Authority's view such schemes are unacceptable under the Code. They do not involve bona fide tests of skill as set out in the supplementary information to Clause 18.1 and include exhibition stands contrary to the supplementary information to Clause 18.1. The giving of prizes in association with quizzes and competitions is always unacceptable irrespective of the nature of the gift.

The only items that can be given to individual health professionals must satisfy the requirements set out in Clause 18 and its supplementary information. The involvement of a pharmaceutical company in the provision of any items beyond those set out in the Code would, in the Authority's view, be unacceptable in relation to Clause 18 regardless of the cost to the company.

That a passport scheme or treasure hunt is organised by a third party would be immaterial as pharmaceutical companies are responsible under the Code for any activity undertaken by themselves, or with their authority, which promotes the administration, consumption, prescription, purchase, recommendation, sale, supply or use of their medicines (Clause 1.2 of the Code refers). By participating in such schemes, companies would be giving their authority for the schemes to be conducted on their behalf.