South Korea’s Improper Solicitation and Graft Act
About a year ago, the meeting industry was made aware of South Korea’s Improper Solicitation and Graft Act (subsequently referred to as the “Act”). “The purpose of this Act is to ensure that public officials and relevant persons fulfill their duties uprightly and to secure public confidence in public institutions by forbidding improper solicitations to public officials and relevant persons and by prohibiting them from accepting financial or other advantages.” 1
Who it Impacts
The scope (who it impacts) of the “Act” is very specific: any individual performing public duties or employed by public or governmental institutions. It is more likely than not, investigators and their staff contracted by the pharmaceutical/biotech industry to perform investigational clinical studies are /could be considered to be civil servants or public officials if they are employed by a public or government-owned institution.
To comply with the “Act” and the Korean Government Official Travel Policy (in Korean language only), the meal restrictions of 30,000KRW (~27 USD) per meal or 90,000KRW(~80 USD) per day are clear. The hotel accommodation cap and class of flights as it relates to the position of the healthcare professional within their institution have to be addressed thoughtfully by the pharmaceutical companies’ country-level affiliates to be applied/communicated.
There are several ways to involve South Korean healthcare professionals in medical events such as investigator meetings. It does require proactive planning and communications:
- Always seek country-specific legal advice from your local pharmaceutical/CRO affiliates.
- Complete a table of invitees as they relate to their position within an institution to obtain specific caps related to accommodations/flight class before selecting your venue.
- Selection of a venue:
- Outside country (South Korea) -Hotels/Conference Centers that can accommodate the restrictive caps for accommodations/food and beverage
- In country (South Korea)- Hotels/Conference Centers that are aware of the Act and can accommodate the restrictive hospitality
- Hybrid Events – consider hosting a face-to-face event in another country (same time zone). The South Korean sites can be assembled in one local venue or at their institutions and participate in the event virtually.
- Video/audio capture of the face-to-face event to be professional repurposed in English or translated to Korean via Miller Tanner’s On-Demand Trainer/Learning Management System to provide a secure online training for the healthcare professionals to watch, asks questions to the presenters via the system and even answer assessments questions to determine comprehension of the materials presented.
Sources: The Improper Solicitation and Graft Act No. 13278, Mar. 27, 2015
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- Investigator Meetings: Compliance Q & A - May 14, 2019
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