The Advanced Medical Technology Association has released an updated, stricter version of its Code of Ethics on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals, which will go into effect July 1, 2009. The new guidelines have some similarities to the updated code released by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which went into effect this January.

Like the new PhRMA guidelines, the AdvaMed code prohibits member companies from paying for any entertainment or recreational activities or providing gifts to healthcare professionals, including the noneducational, branded promotional items typically offered as booth giveaways at medical trade shows, such as pens, notebooks, and mugs. In an FAQ document that accompanies the code, AdvaMed specifies the companies may not raffle items during a trade show that are otherwise prohibited under the code (for example, airline tickets).

Companies are allowed to provide occasional gifts that are of educational value for healthcare professionals or that benefit patients, another similarity to the PhRMA code. These items should be valued at less than $100, with the exception of textbooks or anatomical models. (There is no such exception in the PhRMA code.) Medical device starter kits or educational brochures are allowable, since they benefit patients, but scrubs and office supplies are not allowed, according to the FAQ.

As for continuing medical education meetings, companies may provide grants, the code says, as long as the conference sponsor controls content, faculty selection, educational methods, and materials.

To download the code, visit www.advamed.org.