As AdvaMed and Eucomed prepare for our next Global MedTech Compliance Conference May 20-22, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain, I reflect on the remarkable policy outcomes attributed to our past conference discussions. Our MedTech association-led compliance conferences offer a platform—not available in a commercial compliance conference—to spur discussion and best practices exchange among compliance leaders on issues most crucial to industry, engage in common training, forge consensus on policy priorities and drive industry compliance policy ahead to reach new achievements. This unique ability of association-led compliance conferences to drive change was evident during the recent Latin America Compliance Conference.
At the conclusion of the Latin America Compliance Conference in São Paulo (11-13 February), four medical device associations acted on the passionate conference discussion and focus on Brazil’s new Clean Companies anti-bribery law, to jointly commit to advance business ethics in Latin America’s largest medical device market. Under the 13 February memorandum of understanding (MOU) AdvaMed and three key Brazil device associations will work together to enhance ethical business practices in Brazil among manufacturers, third-party distributors and healthcare professionals, representing a significant step toward harmonising codes of ethics across Latin America.
- Groups signing the MOU with AdvaMed include: Associação Brasileira da Indústria de Alta Tecnologia de Equipamentos, Produtos e Suprimentos Médico-Hospitalares (ABIMED); Associação Brasileira de Importadores e Distribuidores de Implantes (ABRAIDI); and Câmara Brasileira de Diagnóstico Laboratorial (CBDL).
The MOU reflects the medical technology industry’s commitment to developing a cohesive international approach to interactions with health care providers, premised on the highest ethical standards. Interactions between medical technology companies and physicians are essential for the development of advanced, life-saving and life-enhancing medical technologies, for ensuring the safe and effective use of medical products, and for improving patient outcomes.
By facilitating open and transparent business environments free from the high costs of corruption, ethical collaborations ensure healthcare decisions are made in the best interests of consumers and patients. They also create a level playing field for industry, help domestic companies in emerging markets find export opportunities, facilitate local investment, and enhance global competitiveness and economic growth.
Under the MOU:
- AdvaMed and ABIMED, ABRAIDI and CBDL plan to jointly assist their members to implement ethical business practices and serve as models for the Brazilian medical technology community as part of a self-regulatory industry approach.
- The Brazil associations recognise the AdvaMed Code of Ethics as one of multiple best practices tools and documents available to guide their compliance efforts and initiatives.
- The parties commit to joint compliance training initiatives, educational workshops and programs, as well as sharing of best practices.
The MOU is by no means exclusive, and AdvaMed’s hope is that other, equally influential associations in Brazil, such as ABIMO (Associação Brasileira da Indústria de Artigos e Equipamentos Médicos, Odontológicos, Hospitalares e de Laboratórios), will sign on and express commitment to ethics and compliance as well.
In Brazil, AdvaMed’s next steps include working with ABIMED, ABRAIDI and CBDL to review these three associations’ codes of ethics and provide detailed feedback and advice.
In recent years, our industry has made incredible progress in advancing ethical business practices and developing voluntary codes of ethics in Asia and Latin America, and we see an important opportunity to further develop, strengthen and align such codes going forward. Some Latin American codes, such as in Peru, Chile and Mexico, align with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum Kuala Lumpur model code of ethics agreed to among Canada, the U.S. and other APEC economies. We are also encouraged that Columbia soon will finalise a code with very similar, high ethical standards.
Looking ahead to Barcelona, we look forward to reviewing the important progress achieved in Brazil, and taking further strides ahead to help promote, implement and align self-regulatory codes of industry ethics and compliance programs for the good of patients and healthcare systems, as well as the medical technology industry.
-Christopher L. White, AdvaMed Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel