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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions: Policy on Interaction with Industry

  1. 1.       Gifts to Individuals from Industry
    Question:  At my professional society meetings, registrants are given the conference program material in a tote bag with the name of the society and the name of a pharmaceutical company that I assume paid for the tote bags.  May I accept the bag?
    Answer:  The policy does not prohibit you from accepting the bag, even with the company logo.  However, the practice of company support for professional societies in exchange for marketing opportunities (such as printing the company name and logo on conference material) is coming under scrutiny.  You should consider recommending that your society eliminate the practice. [go to section 2(a) of policy]

    Question:  Every year, there is a week devoted to recognizing a particular group of allied health professionals in the hospital, and it is coming up soon.  As director of these staff members, I have been asked by outside vendors and others whose services we recommend to patients whether they can provide food and small gifts to our staff members.  Is this ok?
    Answer:  Whether these companies and organizations are vendors doing business with Hopkins or the recipient of referrals by Hopkins staff, they benefit commercially from the work of your staff.  Food and gifts may consciously or unconsciously influence the decisions made by the staff.  As stated in the policy, the offers of food and gifts may not be accepted.

Question:  As a nurse manager, I must earn a certain number of continuing education (CE) credits each year.  Many of the CE events sponsored by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association) are sponsored by healthcare companies.  If I attend an ANCC event that is sponsored by a company, can I accept the meals that are part of the program?  

ANCC, ACCME (Accreditation Council on Continuing Medical Education) and most continuing education accrediting bodies in the health professions have standards for commercial support of their continuing education events.  Provided the event is accredited by a group that has such standards and that the standards provide for independent development of educational content and transparency of commercial support, Johns Hopkins staff may accept meals that are part of the accredited CE program.

  1. Travel
    Question:  We purchased a new assay machine for our pathology lab and it’s essential that a member of the lab attend one of the vendor’s training sessions.  The vendor pays all expenses, including travel, for clients to attend these sessions.  Can we send one of our research assistants?
    Answer:  Yes, provided that the training cannot be provided on-site at JHM and the expenses are reasonable.  The company should not provide gifts or entertainment in the course of the training.  It is strongly recommended that the training sessions and expenses be incorporated into any purchase contracts with the vendor.  [go to section 2(j) of policy]