ADIA Code of Practice — History
The Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) developed the framework which governs the interaction between dental product suppliers and dental professionals in response to Australian Government concerns about actual or perceived weaknesses in the arrangements for self-regulation by therapeutic industry associations.
As a result of the approach set out in the ADIA Parliamentary Engagement Strategy, underpinned by ADIA's positive relationships with key parliamentarians, the dental industry was able to negotiate an outcome where industry self-regulation was preserved, rather than an alternative where the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) may have been empowered to regulate how the dental industry promotes its products.
Australian Government Position Paper —
In mid-2010 the (then) Parliamentary Secretary for Health, the Hon. Mark Butler MP, released a position paper highlighting concerns of the Australian Government that marketing and promotional activities undertaken by businesses may inappropriately be influencing the decision making of healthcare professionals. The policy objective outlined in the position paper was that the Australian Government aimed to ensure that decisions on management (including treatment options) for health needs are based on sound clinical evidence, not driven by incentives or other influences.
It was the Australian Government's preference that the peak business organisations in the therapeutic products sector, which included ADIA, revise their codes of conduct so as to ensure that a self-regulatory approach minimised the potential for any promotional activities to compromise the quality use of medicines and to increase cost pressures on the health system. It was also clear that if the industry associations did not revise their codes, the Australian Government would put in place a legislative framework.
For the dental industry the biggest issue was that some companies were offering gifts (e.g. consumer electronics such as iPads) as a means of influencing healthcare professionals to buy their particular brand of product. This was viewed by the Australian Government as inappropriate and not in the best interest of consumers.
Industry & Professional Working Group —
The Parliamentary Secretary invited ADIA, as the peak business organisation representing dental product manufacturers and suppliers on a working group to review a whole-of-sector approach. Included in this working group were other industry associations and professional groups such as the Australian Medical Association (AMA), with the Parliamentary Secretary deciding that ADIA would be the dental sector's primary and sole representative.
The working group developed a high level statement of the principles that should be incorporated in a therapeutic industry code, together with a statement of the obligations on companies operating in the industry covered by the code. The high level statement of principles is as follows: The Australian therapeutic products industry promotes the concept of good health incorporating the quality use of therapeutic products which is based on genuine consumer health needs and supported by the ethical conduct of all parties. The quality use of therapeutic products means: selecting diagnostic and treatment options wisely based on the best available evidence and the consumer’s needs; choosing suitable therapeutic products if this is considered necessary; and using therapeutic products safely and effectively.
It was agreed that all of the therapeutic industry codes have as their primary objective the maintenance of the trust and confidence of, and accountability to, all communities with which they engage, the effectiveness of which is assessed through the eyes of the relevant community. The industry associations, including ADIA, committed to collaborating with relevant stakeholders in code creation, updating, education, monitoring, and compliance.
The outcomes of the working group report was endorsed by the ADIA Board and forwarded to the Parliamentary Secretary for consideration.
Australian Government Response To Report —
In December 2011 the (then) recently appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Health, the Hon. Catherine King MP, released a policy document entitled TGA reforms: a blueprint for TGA's future which endorsed the report from the industry professional and working group. This set the direction in which the ADIA Code of Practice - Edition 1 was developed.
Industry Develops New Code —
In the first half of 2012 the ADIA-CAC Code Administration Committee was formed to develop what became the ADIA Code of Practice - Edition 1. The process took around two years which reflected the high-level of ADIA consultation in the drafting process. There was also extensive engagement with key stakeholders representing dental professionals including the Australian Dental Association (ADA), Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (RACDS), the Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists Association (ADOHTA) and the Australian Dental Prosthetists Association (ADPA).
In early 2015 the ADIA Code of Practice - Edition 1 was approved by the membership and it came into force on 1 July 2015.
Revised Edition Published —
Although the intent of the new promotional framework was to uphold the intent of the Australian Government that decisions on management (including treatment) options for health needs are based upon sound clinical evidence and not driven by incentives or other influences, the ADIA-CCC Code Complaints Committee made an unexpected determination that it was acceptable for a business to provide gifts in the form of consumer electronics when selling therapeutic products. The ADIA Board and the ADIA-CAC Code Administration Committee held a series of joint meetings where it was agreed to amend the Code to prevent this and also to provide clarification on other points where this was desirable.
Following consultation with the members and other stakeholders in the sector, the ADIA membership approved the ADIA Code of Practice - Edition 2 in October 2017 and the revised version came into force on 1 January 2018.
A pleasing and recurring theme throughout the history of the Code's development has been the sustained contribution of ADIA member businesses that have provided so much advice and guidance to those responsible for drafting the new document. ADIA's work here, underpinned by the strong level of member engagement, has built upon the widespread positive reputation of an industry that empowers oral health professionals to advance the health and well-being of all Australians.
Further Information —
To keep up to date with how the ADIA Code of Practice is working to strengthen the trust that exists between the dental industry, dental professionals, and consumers subscribe, to the Twitter feed @AusDental or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dental.industry. Alternatively, you can contact the Association via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 1300 943 094.
This information is available for your use under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence, with the exception of the ADIA logo, other images and where otherwise stated.
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