Associations recommend to members the phase out of direct sponsorship of healthcare professionals to third-party organised conferences and the implementation of more stringent guidance for indirect sponsorship

MedTech industry confirms its support to Continuing Medical Education and will intensify consultation process with relevant stakeholders to develop new models of engagement

Brussels, 15 October 2014 – The Executive Committee of the European Diagnostics Manufacturers Association (EDMA) and the Board of the European Medical Technology Industry Association (Eucomed), both members of MedTech Europe, in a continuous effort to reinforce their respective Codes of Ethical Business Practice today announce their recommendation to members to phase out by 1 January 2018 direct industry sponsorship of healthcare professionals (HCPs) to third-party organised conferences. Both associations are also recommending the introduction of stricter rules for indirect sponsorship. The MedTech industry remains committed to supporting the continuing medical education of HCPs and will continue its ongoing consultation with HCP organisations and other stakeholders to ensure that HCPs have access to the education they need.

The EDMA Executive Committee and the Eucomed Board are recommending to their respective memberships a phase out of sponsorship of passive attendance of healthcare professionals (HCPs) to third-party organised conferences, also known as direct sponsorship, by 1 January 2018 as part of a continuous effort to reinforce their Codes of Ethical Business Practice.

Additionally and of equal importance, stricter self-regulation measures for indirect sponsorship activities are also currently being developed by industry working groups. The associations also recommend that these enter into force as soon as possible.

EDMA, Eucomed and MedTech Europe remain fully committed to supporting continuous medical education (CME) for HCPs. They have already begun and will intensify a comprehensive consultation process with HCP organisations and other relevant stakeholders at European and national levels to elaborate alternative models of CME and support.

Serge Bernasconi, CEO of EDMA, Eucomed and MedTech Europe said: “After more than a year of consultation with our members and stakeholders, and a thorough analysis of the implications of different ways forward, both the EDMA Executive Committee and the Eucomed Board believe that phasing out direct sponsorship while at the same time swiftly introducing stricter rules for indirect sponsorship is the best way forward for our industry to continue to reinforce our Codes. Also, we are well aware of the importance of our engagement to support Continuing Medical Education and this engagement remains. However, it is now time that, in full cooperation and open dialogue with the various CME stakeholders, we elaborate new ways to support CME.”

These recommendations are among measures aimed at reinforcing the EDMA and Eucomed Codes of Ethical Business Practice, which will ultimately be known jointly as the MedTech Europe Code of Ethical Business Practice and to which all EDMA and Eucomed members will be bound. This new Code will be proposed for adoption at the General Assembly of Eucomed, EDMA and MedTech Europe in November 2015.  MedTech Europe is committed to adopting a Code which will set the highest ethical standards for industry-HCP relationships.

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Definitions

Direct sponsorship of HCPs to attend as delegate medical education conferences refers to the direct payment by companies of some or all of the following: travel, lodging, conference registration fees. These costs are either reimbursed to the HCP or paid directly by the company via the purchase of travel tickets, payment of hotel expenses and/or of the registration fee to the conference organiser.

Indirect sponsorship functions, for the most part, via grants to medical societies, hospitals, conference organisers or, much less frequently, to governmental bodies who then allocate the funds to pay certain expenses of HCPs to attend third-party medical education conferences. The relationship between the granting company and the recipient of the funds is governed by a contract whereby the recipients of the grant determine independently which HCPs will be invited to attend.

Healthcare professionals (HCPs) are individuals (clinical or non-clinical, including but not limited to, physicians, nurses, technicians, biologists and research co-ordinators) or entities (such as hospitals or group purchasing bodies) that directly or indirectly purchase, lease, recommend, use, arrange for the purchase or lease of, or prescribe members’ medical technologies.