Please login to the form below

Not currently logged in
Email:
Password:

German court sides with sales reps in payments-to-doctors case

Doctors legally allowed to receive gifts worth thousands of euros

A German court has ruled that doctors working for the state health system can receive gifts from pharma companies worth thousands of euros without fear of being charged with corruption.

The ruling also means pharmaceutical sales representatives who offer such inducements cannot be charged with bribery, it said.

Germany's Court of Justice in Karlsruhe concluded that there is no legal basis to challenge the practice of gift-giving to doctors - even if the gift is tied to an agreement to write prescriptions - because they cannot be considered civil servants.

Doctors are considered self-employed freelancers, it said, so these cases should come under the jurisdiction not of criminal law but the code of practice operated by the German Medical Association.

The verdict has been attacked by national health insurance organisation the GKV, which said in a statement (in German) that as a result "patients cannot be sure whether a prescription for a drug is purely medically justified, or whether the decision is influenced by the marketing strategies of manufacturers ".

The insurer has called for new legislation to be drawn up to introduce specific offences for this form of inducement.

The case was based on an incident in which a doctor was paid €10,000 for a lecture series - which was never delivered - in return for prescribing a certain drug. The doctor and sales representative had both been fined in the case, but the sales rep had lodged an appeal, reports Reuters.

"It should be in the interests of all doctors working on contract that the reputation of the entire medical profession is not taken into disrepute by the misconduct of individuals," commented GKV board member Gernot Kiefer.

While condemning the giving of inducements to doctors in return for prescribing drugs, the German Medical Association and VFA pharma industry group welcomed the court ruling, saying it was important to preserve the independent status of medical practitioners.

Existing codes of practice provide sufficient sanctions to deter the practice, they argue.

29th June 2012

Share

Featured jobs

Subscribe to our email news alerts

PMHub

Add my company
Videum Health

Videum Health is a premium video platform that offers brands innovative engagement strategies to reach targeted healthcare audiences on a...

Latest intelligence

How to conduct a pharma content audit
A pharma content audit is essential for identifying whether your site delivers comprehensive, valuable information for the purpose of meeting the needs of your content marketing efforts....
14_ipad_lowres.jpg
Do your customers feel that you’re listening to them?
When answering to data, excellent digital communication can create much stronger relationships between reps and customers....
Mapping content strategies to pharma lifecycle management
In these tough economic times, we should be ramping up our pharma lifecycle management (LCM) strategies. These are well-established strategies for managing and extending the commercial value of products. So...

Infographics