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 - 03.05.2010 Promoting an international healthcare compliance network

Opening adress of the 3rd International Healthcare Compliance Conference,
Berlin, 3 to 5 May 2010,
by BVMed Director General Joachim M. Schmitt

PressemeldungBerlin/Germany, 03.05.2010

Health belongs to our most valued possessions – worldwide.
We all wish to grow old as healthily as possible and to have to suffer illness, if at all, only at the end of our lives for a very brief time.
Live better, healthier, longer – that’s the motto.

Patients need suitable methods of diagnosis and treatment. And medical devices play a vital role here.
Medical devices are indispensable for health and a better quality of life!
Medical technologies are an investment in the health and productivity of people!
That’s the reason why especially innovative medical technologies must be made available to all patients who need them without delay!
Enhancing health – that’s our goal, that’s our job, that’s our business.

In the healthcare market, we need a common understanding of how we work with each other and how to define a good and transparent cooperation with our partners – physicians, hospital managers, nurses and all other healthcare professionals.

One solution is medical technology industry Codes of Ethics and Business Practice, such as the AdvaMed and Eucomed Codes. Such codes support and promote ethical interactions among medical device companies and Healthcare Professionals in order to ensure the ongoing development of advanced medical technologies and patient access to the safe and effective use of medical devices.

Healthcare and medical technology innovation increasingly extends beyond national cultural boundaries, and there is a growing need to promote internationally a culture in Companies’ interactions with Healthcare Professionals based on common high ethical principles. We need some kind of standardisation harmonization and mutual recognition. However that’s more easily said than done.

The healthcare systems, the financing systems and reimbursement differ between countries. And often this is also the case in terms of “sponsoring in the healthcare market”. For this reason it is of great importance and necessity that we continue to exchange our views on this topic on a global level.

Officially, we started the first International Compliance Conference in Paris in 2008 – an excellent meeting. We described the diverse problems and defined our future steps. Italy, Rome last year was an important step in the right direction. Deciding that we have to intensify our work for more standardization harmonization and mutual recognition was the right decision.

Today we can say that we have had a lot of success to now. Nevertheless, interpretation of laws and directives differ too much among the countries. There are still varying viewpoint on the outpatient sector and the hospitals. Consequently, there remains much insecurity and unawareness. That’s why we have to continue with our work.

We need a healthcare compliance management, a healthcare compliance officer or – the name or title isn’t important – a responsible person, directly connected with the board or management of the company. That’s necessary in order to underline the function, responsibility and importance of such a person or such a department to establish and exercise adequate education and training in the healthcare compliance area.

Above and beyond this education, training and information function, I advocate the creation of a new “expert network” for healthcare compliance. Companies and hospitals are asked to designate persons responsible for health-care compliance and interactions for effective cooperations between industry and physicians. If everyone knows whom to contact, such a network could do much to promote the handling of many topics directly without unnecessary obstacles and enhance a transparent and positive mutual cooperation.

For this goal to be reached I have three wishes:

1. We need a new prevention program. We need much more education and training for everyone involved in the healthcare market about the joint cooperation.

2. We need a “new approach – a positive approach”, which means we have to tell our employees, partners and customers how they can work to-gether, which interactions are allowed, how further trainings can be supported financially, where donations and gifts are permitted, what kind of contracts can be entered into in what way.

3. And my third wish is this: In order to be successful with this kind of positive
approach we have to establish a new expert network for healthcare compliance issues with optimized communication channels.

What I mean is really an interchange between both sides, responsible persons for compliance of hospitals and companies. If we work together in this direction we can establish a worldwide expert network on healthcare compliance. This would be a great success for the medical technology industry.

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