Covidien’s chief Asia-Pacific compliance counsel Jessie Yap recently said most healthcare firms in Asia sponsor doctors to attend conferences, a practice Yap said influences purchasing decisions “significantly.”
“Often…instead of attending conferences, the doctors are actually taken sightseeing, gambling, and other unauthorized activities,” Yap said at an April anti-corruption forum in Sydney.
Yap also said Covidien no longer directly sponsors doctors in Asia.
According to Yap, authorities in China may be starting to crack down on corruption connected to medical conferences.
In March 2013, 23 medical institutions in Tianjin were investigated in a probe concentrating on bribery disguised as legitimate conference sponsorship.
Regulators have been aware of the issue for years. In 2006, a Shandong doctor revealed a seminar held by the province’s Rheumatic Diseases Research Association was a veritable sponsorship bonanza, with 15 companies paying as much as $16,000 to speakers in exchange for mentioning their products.
Doctors attending the seminar reportedly received secret gifts, banquets, and sightseeing tours from companies.
Sources: Lawyers Weekly, Xinhua News (新华网), JCRB . com (正义网)
A version of this post appeared in the China Compliance Digest. For a limited time, subscribers of the China Compliance Digest will receive the China Anti-Corruption Handbook ($750 value) and an individual ethiXbase membership ($695 value) at no extra charge. Details are here.