At the International Medical Device Industry Compliance Conference today nine medical devices branch associations from around the world committed to further advance ethical behaviour globally by signing the “Global Compliance Statement on Interactions Between Medical Technology Companies and Healthcare Professionals (HCPs).” The assocations concerned are AdvaMed, Eucomed, EDMA, COCIR (European Coordination Committee of the Radiological, Electromedical and Healthcare IT Industry), IMEDA (International Medical Devices Manufacturers Association), MEDEC (Canadian medical technology industry association), MTAA (Medical Technology Association of Australia), Medical Technology Association of New Zealand and SAMED (South African Medical Device Industry Association).
The statement does not concern a new code but rather a statement that the principles on which each of the assocations’ codes are based are identical and a commitment to work together to promote these standards. These principles are well known to everyone in the compliance field: transparency, documentation, equivalence and separation. Since these principles are already present in the codes of all assocations that signed the statement, it is not a giant step in substantive terms. However, the symbolic and political value is what counts, as well as the platform this provides to build on for the future, as the associations also commit to

Promote ethical interactions among companies and HCPs by encouraging companies to adopt compliance programs and policies consistent with the applicable industry codes;
Provide guidance to the medical technology industry at large on ethical business conduct relating to companies’ interactions with HCPs;
Support education and compliance of companies with all applicable laws, regulations or professional codes (including national association codes) that may impose more stringent requirements, relating to companies’ interactions with HCPs; and
Work together to advance ethical collaborations consistent with the respective codes globally, through regular communication, joint policies (where appropriate), joint activities, and other appropriate collaborations.

So, the true progress is made in these fields, as this statement makes business compliance a truly global issue by providing a global structure for further development of harmonised rules throughout the geographic scope in which their members are active. If the associations succeed in maintaining this momentum and the positive energy in the room at the conference where the statement was signed, great things may be achieved.