Medtech organisations release joint statement on phase-out of direct sponsorships

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The Global Medtech industry is moving together to enhance compliance practices across Europe, China, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia-Pacific, announces a statement released by AdvaMed, APACMed, Mecomed, and MedTech Europe.

“AdvaMed, APACMed, Mecomed, and MedTech Europe represent manufacturers of medical devices and diagnostics around the world. Our organisations promote high ethical standards in interactions between our member companies and healthcare professionals and healthcare organisations. We strive to achieve timely patient access to safe and effective products to help patients live longer, healthier lives around the world,” the statement adds.

It further adds that “collaboration and interactions with healthcare professionals and healthcare organisations must be transparent, and must be balanced against the need for healthcare professionals to make independent decisions regarding patient care and treatment.

Codes of ethics revised

“For these reasons, our organisations are instituting policy changes that affect how medical technology companies support healthcare professionals training and education around the world: Our industry has revised its codes of ethics in China (the AdvaMed China Code), in Europe (the MedTech Europe Code), in the Middle East and North Africa (the Mecomed Code), and in the Asia-Pacific region (the APACMed Code) to strengthen our collective commitment to training and education of healthcare professionals, and to ethics and integrity,” the statement informs.

It specifically points to “one of the key revisions” in codes of ethical practice: the elimination of “direct sponsorship” of healthcare professional attendance at third-party educational events, such as medical conferences and congresses, effective 1 January 2018. “’Direct sponsorship’ means those situations in which a company selects and pays for an individual healthcare professional’s registration fee, travel, lodging, and meals/hospitality to attend a third-party educational event,” the statement clarifies, noting that this means that effective 1 January 2018, “companies will no longer select or influence the selection of specific healthcare professional attendees at third-party educational events; directly arrange or pay for attendees’ travel, accommodation and/or registration; or reimburse the expenses of specific healthcare professional attendees at third-party educational events.”

“Importantly, these changes do not diminish companies’ commitment to healthcare professionals training and education; rather, what will change is how companies support third-party educational events. Companies may offer educational grants and sponsorship to third-party conference organisers, healthcare institutions, and/or professional associations to enable them to select healthcare professionals to attend third-party educational events. Companies will also continue to host and support robust technical product and procedure training, and educational meetings, which instruct healthcare professionals on how to safely and effectively use our companies’ complex, life-saving products. With the end of direct sponsorships, we anticipate that companies will have more resources to devote to high-impact training and education opportunities based on companies’ individual educational strategies,” the statement clarifies.

The announcement explains that this change is the result of extensive industry discussions and dialogue with key stakeholders over a number of years. “It follows a global trend that began to move away from direct sponsorship some time ago, as in the USA, Australia, and other countries such as Sweden and Russia,” it says.

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