The Dutch policy on the sponsoring of scientific meetings of healthcare professionals has been further clarified in two ways:

  1. for pharmaceutical companies: the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate (IGZ) published a document containing basic principles for its inspections of scientific meetings;
  2. for congress organizations: the self-regulatory Foundation for the Code for Pharmaceutical Advertising body (CGR) published an informative document to guide congress organizations through the relevant regulatory requirements.

The CGR recently published a newsletter in which it refers to these documents.

IGZ's basic principles

Earlier this year, IGZ published its Work Plan 2017 (see our newsletter of 31 January 2017), in which it announced that inspection visits to pharmaceutical industry-sponsored conferences and trainings would be among its key priorities in 2017.

Recently, IGZ published a document containing basic principles which it will apply when inspecting scientific meetings. The basic principles follow the CGR's framework. In this respect, no material novelties. The document heavily focuses on hospitality. It also discusses service agreements between industry and stakeholders and the use of disclosure sheets for speakers, disclosing any financial relations the speaker may have with pharmaceutical industry.

Although IGZ concludes the publication by stating that each meeting will be assessed individually, the publication provides a non-limitative list of clear-cut examples of sponsoring which it considers inadmissible, such as:

  • sponsoring a meeting where the non-scientific elements of the program (for example, lunch and dinner) last equally long as the scientific elements;
  • providing hospitality to non-healthcare professionals which goes beyond a cup of coffee and simple sandwich-formula;
  • offering both lunch and dinner or a lunch/dinner and drinks for a meeting which lasts only a daypart (4 hours);
  • sponsoring a meeting with mainly Dutch participants, for which an overnight stay is required, but where the evening program is not substantially filled with a scientific program and the program the day after ends halfway in the afternoon;
  • sponsoring a meeting that takes place at luxury venues, such as a castle, with extensive facilities.

CGR explanatory note for congress organizations

The CGR published a guidance document to inform congress organizations and help them find their way through the requirements for pharmaceutical industry-sponsored scientific meetings. The document contains general information and frequently asked questions.