A Bridge Towards Convergence Of Ethical Standards In Medtech

  • Posted on 26.04.2017

A Bridge Towards Convergence Of Ethical Standards In Medtech


Renata De Travieso

Legal & Compliance consultant, MedTech Europe


Sometimes I feel that compliance is like a jigsaw puzzle where every new piece brings us closer to the complete picture: Codes of Ethics. After being heavily involved in the adoption of the MedTech Europe Code of Business Ethical Practice, during my time as Legal & Compliance Manager at MedTech Europe, I have been amazed during the AdvaMed Latin America Compliance Conference 2017 by the similarities of debates taking place in Europe and in Latin America.

One of my conclusions is that adherence to ethical standards goes beyond borders and supersedes geopolitical considerations to reach common objectives.

Held in Bogota in February, key stakeholders coming from Latin America, US and Europe have been discussing worldwide trends that Latin America is also experimenting. Most of the countries (e.g. Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil) have adopted Code of Ethics, and some of them (e.g. Colombia, Mexico) have already banned the direct sponsorship of Healthcare Professionals to attend Third Party Organised Events. Other countries are currently considering to:

(i)    phase out the direct sponsorship (e.g. Brazil);

(ii)   implement a transparency system (e.g. Colombia) with the same philosophy as the Europe and/or the US framework;

(iii)  reinforce anti-bribery laws (e.g. Colombia, Brazil, Mexico).

Thus, noteworthy initiatives are spreading in Latin America: within a context of public scandals and corruption[1] (e.g. “Mensalão”, “Car wash”, “Prosthesis Mafia” scandals), the Brazilian Association of Medical Technology (ABIMED) created multilateral working groups involving public authorities, Committee of Ethics and medical societies to reinforce their Code of Ethics and to strengthen the prevention, the monitoring and the sanctions applicable to all forms of corruption.

I would also point out another key challenge that speakers tried to address: how to involve third-party intermediaries interacting with Healthcare Professionals or Healthcare Organisations in connection with the sale and marketing of medical devices worldwide? How to create a trustful partnership with consultants, third-party sales & marketing intermediaries and distributors?

We do not have to be candid as there is no magic solution but efforts shall focus on exchange of best practices, early consultation, communication and trainings with a multidisciplinary approach to enhance the reputation and success of the medical technology industry. As mentioned during the Conference, an ethical culture does not only reduce misconduct but also influences the company’s financial performance[2]. Indeed, a company with a strong culture of integrity has ten-year total shareholder returns that are sixteen percentage points higher than companies with lower integrity score.

This Conference has been a great success, symbolised by the launch of the Inter-American coalition on Ethical Practices in the Medical Technology sector. Although key issues are still pending, a worldwide culture of compliance is in progress. In such context, the yearly Global MedTech Compliance Conference taking place in Amsterdam (3-4 May 2017) will be an essential step to pursue these discussions. In particular, the Conference will address:

–        how the shift to value may impact the compliance function

–        how to optimise Educational Grants to ensure industry support to medical education

–        the various distributors’ positions and their evolution of practices

–        the role of compliance in handling privacy and big data, and

–        how to promote convergence between the Codes of Ethics of the pharmaceutical and the MedTech industries

We need all of you to analyse and to move forward these key challenges. Please join my colleagues in Amsterdam to share your views and experience! 


This blog is part of the GMTCC 2017  blog series. You can follow the conversation under #GMTCC and find more details and at gmtcc.com


[1] For a global overview of risk assessment, in Latin America, please consult the risk study conducted by the Colombian Association of industries (ANDI).

[2]. CEB-CELC Research «Ethical Leadership: the important links between culture, risk management and business performance».


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