Code of Practice Edition 13 - 2023

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Amendments to the MTAA Code of Practice

During 2022, a Code Review Working Group (CRWG) was formed and completed a substantial review of the Code which resulted in the proposed amendments being put for adoption by members at the MTAA 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) to become the 13th Edition of the Code. These proposed amendments were ratified by members during the 2022 AGM and came into effect from 1 January 2023.

Amendments to the Code are listed below -

1.      Changes to the layout of the Code:

  • the desk top version to include pop-up boxes for Explanatory Notes and FAQs.
  • the desk top version to include links to defined terms within the Code back to the Glossary.
  • Glossary to be displayed in a table format.
  • live links to external resources.
  • Contents section to include additional subheadings to allow navigation to specific sections within the Code.
  • Clauses 1-5 of the Code will no longer have clause numbers, just headings.
  • Clauses 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 15 to be renumbered and start from 1 (i.e., Advertising will now be clause 1, previously clause 8 and so on).
  • the Glossary, Clause 13, and Clause 7 moved to the back of the Code in that order (Clause 7 to be on the last page) - no clause numbers, just headings (same as the changes to clauses 1-5).
  • links to Committee Terms of Reference will be included in Clause 13.
  • addition of a back page to include MTAA Logo, Contact Details, Publication Date and Version.

2.      Changes to defined terms:

  • Authorised Representative - definition removed.
  • Consensus Principles - new definition.
  • Consumer - change to the definition.
  • Entertainment - change to the definition.
  • Member - new definition.
  • Non-member - new definition.
  • Patient - new definition.
  • Restricted Medical Technology - definition removed.
  • Virtual Events - new definition.

3.      Amendments for the purpose of providing clarity:

  • additional wording was included in the Statement of Principles to strengthen MTAA’s commitment to the Australian Consensus Framework principles.
  • amendment to the Objectives and Scope of the Code.
  • amendments and additions to various clauses within the Advertising section including changes to clauses 1.2 h), 1.3 b), 1.5 b) (i) and (ii).
  • amendments and additions to various clauses within the Interactions with Healthcare Professionals section (changes to clauses 2.3.2 b) (ix), 2.5, 2.5 g), 2.7 a) and f), 2.9.2 a), and 2.9.4). The addition of sub-clause g) to clause 2.5 was to cover the prohibition of providing delivery of food or beverages to a Healthcare Professional at their home location in line with the guidance document that the Code Authority produced in September 2020.
  • amendment to clause 3.1 d) within the Company Representatives section.
  • amendments and additions to various clauses within the Interactions with Consumers including changes to clause a), additional clauses b) – d), and removal of clause 11.2.

4.      Substantial change #1: the Code Committees identified the lack of guidance that the Social Media clause provided members as an issue, given the increase in member presence on social media platforms in response to COVID. Additionally, the review of member responses to the social media questions posed in the monitoring template identified gaps in the Code that needed strengthening, further supporting the Code Committee’s concern. For example, there were member companies who used social media in the 12 months prior without having implemented an internal policy. These changes were included to provide members with guidance and clarity on what is required when using social media and is consistent with the TGA’s requirements.

Therefore, there are proposed amendments and additions to the Social Media clauses including clauses 1.7 a), c), d) (i) and (ii), and e).

5.      Substantial change #2: the Code committees identified this area as an issue given the increase in members’ hosting content online.   The current Code has no guidance for members in this regard, whilst other relevant industry codes provide guidance for their members in this area. The new section, clause 1.8 a) – d), was drafted to align with the TGA’s requirements and provides guidance to members on when it is appropriate to restrict access to content on their website/s to Healthcare Professional’s only, statements to be included on their website, instances when it would be appropriate for the statement to be displayed, and instances where the member is responsible for the content.

(Note: Minor amendments which do not affect the substance of the Code, including formatting of the document and proposed wording for reasons of clarity, have not been listed above).