Health system stakeholders in Peru and Canada have launched landmark collaborative arrangements to strengthen their ethical interactions. It positions them to more effectively address improper inducements and ensure patient interests while providing a foundation for relevant parties elsewhere in the Pacific Rim to build on this progress.
Peru and Canada’s “consensus frameworks” bring together health agencies, associations, practitioners, hospital groups and patient organizations to jointly develop and adopt codes of ethics, drawing on principles established in APEC for the medical device and biopharmaceutical sectors.
The frameworks support ethics training across health systems, including for employees of small and medium enterprises. The aim is to open up greater opportunities for these businesses to participate in cross-border trade free from the high costs of corruption. The approach could significantly improve healthcare outcomes as well as bolster regional trade, job creation and economic growth.
The signing of Peru’s consensus framework by 22 parties took place during an APEC business ethics forum in Lima, ahead of a key meeting of Ministers from the region here on Friday to propel small and medium enterprise development. Canada’s new consensus framework was also recognized by forum delegates.
Together, they will provide models to assist fellow APEC member economies in creating their own consensus frameworks. They also complement work in the region to achieve universal adoption of codes of ethics consistent with APEC principles. Both measures are guided by a targeted 2020 deadline.
“The major stakeholders in Peru’s health system have agreed to a new undertaking for strengthening ethical business practices,” noted Dr Patricia Garcia, the economy’s Minister of Health who witnessed the signing of its consensus framework. “It is essential for the health industry to work in unison to build public trust and now we have a platform to achieve just that. We hope others will follow.”
“We welcome the steps taken by Peru and Canada to strengthen their health systems through the collective embrace of robust ethical practices,” added John Andersen, Chair of the APEC Small and Medium Enterprise Working Group, which administers regional initiatives to drive small business growth. “Momentum is building for comparable frameworks across the region that will allow more innovative companies to export their products and become trusted, sustainable operators,” continued Andersen, who is also United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce.
The APEC-wide pursuit of public-private action to enhance business ethics in health systems was accelerated by Small and Medium Enterprise Ministers in Nanjing, China in 2014. Reaffirming unethical business environments as a barrier to small business growth, they called for the universal adoption of common, high standard business principles first detailed by APEC economies in Kuala Lumpur for the medical device sector and in Mexico City on the biopharmaceutical sector.
At the forum, it was also revealed that the number of biopharmaceutical and medical device industry associations that have adopted codes of ethics or code commitments in the last four years has doubled across APEC economies. These groups collectively represent over 18,000 enterprises, including nearly 10,000 small businesses, and are demonstrating notable implementation progress.
“Aligned codes advance ethical collaboration, foster innovation and instill integrity in medical decision-making,” explained Christopher White, Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Advanced Medical Technology Industry Association and private sector co-chair of the informal APEC Kuala Lumpur Principles expert group, which has helped to guide the initiative.
“From a patient perspective, APEC continues to serve a vital role in elevating high-standard ethical practices for health systems which facilitates access to lifesaving medical technologies across borders,” concluded K.P. Tsang, Immediate Past Chair of the International Alliance of Patients Organizations and 2016 APEC Business Ethics for Small and Medium Enterprises Forum delegate.
See Peru’s consensus framework for ethical collaboration in the biopharmaceutical and medical device sectors here.
Canada’s parallel consensus framework can be found here.
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