SAMED’s Medical Device Code tip-offs hotline is in action and has processed four more cases since December – both were referred to SAHPRA for further investigation and management. This brings the total to six complaints received by the hotline since it went live in September 2019. Learning along the way and working with independent legal advisors, SAMED has ensured that adequate mechanisms are in place to protect whistle-blowers.

The significance of anonymity was also underscored at SAMED’s 3Cs seminar, which was devoted to Competition, Corruption and the Code and held on 26 February. Apart from the members, the meeting was also open to other stakeholders including professional societies to help strengthen compliance by deepening our industry’s collaboration with the healthcare professionals. The discussions examined forms and effects of fraud, waste and bribery in the healthcare sector:

  • Some 20-40% of global health spend does not improve health outcomes due to corruption, with some 50% of medical equipment being unsuitable in developing countries due to various reasons, including inadequate training and maintenance (WHO). Under the leadership of David Lewis, Corruption Watch is launching a dedicated health-sector campaign. Use their hotline to report corruption in the health sector.
  • SAMED is a signatory to the Presidential Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum (HSACF). This SIU-led intervention investigates corruption in the health sector. Read more on its mandate and recent activities as presented by Thulani Mkhungo and report health sector corruption by calling 0800 037 774.
  • Dr Katlego Mothudi from the Board of Healthcare Funders spoke about BHF’s report and provided statistics that point to the increasing prevalence of fraud, waste and abuse (FWA) in South Africa. In 2017, fraud in the private healthcare sector was estimated to be R8-R25 billion, while inefficiency contributed to R40 billion in wasted resources. Double-billing for the same patient, false claims and remunerative work outside the public service (RWOPS) perpetuate the problem. Report instances of fraud, waste and abuse by calling 080 847 4368.

The Medical Device Code is SAMED’s central instrument in contributing to health-sector anti-corruption efforts. The comprehensive scope of the Code shows the association’s willingness to address risks that impact its industry and healthcare more broadly. To bring HCPs and professional societies up-to-speed with the Code, SAMED is implementing an awareness-raising campaign. Our representatives continually promote ethics, and are able to provide web-based talks to hospitals, healthcare practices, health departments and associations, or speak at your next event either remotely or in person once the COVID-19 outbreak subsides. Contact SAMED Communications for more information.

Useful resources
The following resources are available to members, other MedTech suppliers and customers:

  • Summary table with the snapshot of 14 Code provisions.
  • Training slides on sampling and demonstration products. We acknowledge the important role these products play in healthcare – but their provision must not improperly reward, induce or encourage HCPs to purchase, lease, recommend, prescribe, use, supply or procure MedTech companies’ products or services.
  • Guidance document on alternatives to direct sponsorship, since the Code prohibits funding to individual HCPs and private practices.
  • Our online certification course CRICE, for company representatives in the clinical environment. The course has been completed by 4609 Medical Technology and pharmaceutical representatives since it was launched in 2012, and an increasing number of health facilities is requesting CRICE accreditation as a condition for representatives accessing their sterile environments.

Clarifying the rules on industry’s support for continued medical education of HCPs
The Medical Device Code recognises the value of the industry’s support for continued medical education of HCPs. A prohibition of direct sponsorship of HCPs to attend third-party organised conferences and congresses preserves and enhances the independence of HCPs in clinical decision-making. The approach also promotes the highest standards of transparency around industry’s interactions with HCPs.

Instead of direct sponsorship, SAMED encourages its members to indirectly sponsors HCPs through educational grants provided to third-party organisers of conferences and congresses, including professional societies.

Play your part in building ethical, corruption-free health services

Learn more about the Medical Device Code
Utilise Code training manuals and guidelines found on the SAMED website
Call 0800-00-04-68 to anonymously report transgressions of the Code
Complete the CPD-accredited online Code certification test
Become accredited for best-practice for Company Representatives in Clinical Environment