Wednesday, June 21st saw South African Medical Device Industry Association (SAMED) public launch of the Medical Device Code of Ethical Marketing and Business Practice “The Code”. This is the first major step in the right direction for the oversight between the medical devices industry, consumers, and healthcare professionals.
SAMED acts as the curator of the code of ethics for its member organisations. The code of ethics is a living document working for the industry and members self-regulating with the oversight of SAMED. The document aims to work toward best practices in ethical business and marketing practices.
The document breaks down to stop and inhibit member companies from offering incentives to healthcare providers and customers. While also putting a stop to bad business practice with sole profit driven motive rather than the best interests of the patients as the primary goal. Covering areas of focus that have been seen to become an area of contention or seen as unethical business practices now and in the future.
This first step is a move to creating buy-in from industry as well as every member working towards a global industry standard. Without this first step buy-in and jumping straight to legislation brings in the problem of loophole exploitation. The code of ethics has been welcomed by the National Department of Health as a step forward and proactive move toward eventual legislation in the years to come. As stated before this is a living document and will change as clashes or problems arise.
This document does have repercussions for members that breach the code of ethics while offering anonymity for whistleblowers as an important part to prevent backlash towards those coming forward. The process will see an independent investigator brought in to gather evidence and the validity of the claims. Furthermore, there will be an independent board of inquiry towards the findings of the investigation. Depending on the severity of the infraction there is an action that will be taken with hefty fines imposed upon the guilty party with no room for appeals within the process, this will have to be taken up in legal courts.
The SANCDA welcomes this move as well as the code of ethics as a movement in the right direction by SAMED and its members.
To download the full code of ethics please use the link below.