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Compliance experts gather to discuss new Code of Ethics for Irish medical technology industry

An expert group of prominent senior  Irish and European compliance executives attended a workshop in Dublin last week (January 26th, 2011) to provide guidance and training on a Code of Ethics for the Irish medical technology industry. The Code of Ethics, which will be formally launched next month, has been developed by the Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA) and  the Irish Medical & Surgical Trade Association (IMSTA) and is largely based on that of Eucomed, the European medical technology industry association. 

Industry codes of ethics have been adopted in many countries as instruments of self-regulation with the purpose of defining the rules whereby the industry may operate in an equitable and transparent manner. Born out of the recognition that adherence to high ethical standards is critical to guaranteeing access to modern, innovative and reliable medical technology, the IMDA and IMSTA have developed the Code of Ethics to protect a culture of integrity and ethical business practices across the medtech industry in Ireland. 

The training workshop was attended by over 40 delegates from indigenous and multinational medical technology companies (including delegates from PEI) who wished to learn more about the principles of the Code of Ethics, to discuss their interpretations of the Code, and to gain a better understanding of how it will impact their daily working lives.  To increase active participation, exchange of views and effective learning, presentations by the experts were interspersed with practical exercises and group debates on specific case studies. Participants also had the opportunity to exchange and network informally. 

On the importance of a Code of Ethics for Ireland, Sharon Higgins, director, IMDA explained: “Medical technology companies and the healthcare profession are entering a new era in terms of how they deal with each other and in order to guarantee the reputation of the industry, we want to ensure that sufficient safeguards are in place to uphold the integrity of such relationships. It is our hope that an Irish Code of Ethics for the medtech sector will play a very important role in governing all interactions between medical technology companies and healthcare professionals, and embed ethical behaviour into routine professional collaborations.” 

A period of extensive engagement and consultation with key stakeholders and interested parties is currently drawing to a close, and it is envisaged that the Code will be formally launched in March 2011. Following this, letters of commitment will be sent to IMDA and IMSTA members, and signed commitment to the Code of Ethics will be on a voluntary basis for the first 18 months.