Issued by the APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group
APEC continues to bolster ethics in the healthcare sector in support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and patients, as Chile launches a consensus framework to improve ethical interactions in its healthcare system.
The ‘Chile Consensus Framework’ follows agreements signed by eight other APEC economies, including Australia, China, and Japan.
Consensus frameworks enable relevant stakeholders, including industry, healthcare professionals, patient groups, and governments, to work together by aligning each other’s ethics codes in best practices, research, training, and policy-making.
“Let’s connect people to build the future. By working across economies to elevate business ethics across our health systems, our people receive treatment that is in their best interest and our companies are able to sustainably operate and engage in cross-border trade. This is the potential of economic cooperation that APEC delivers,” said Rodrigo Yáñez, Chile’s Vice Minister for Trade.
The consensus framework was signed at the APEC Business Ethics for Small and Medium Enterprises Forum in Santiago, Chile.
The largest collective action in the APEC region to strengthen ethical business practices in the medical device and biopharmaceutical sectors, the forum has engaged more than 1,500 organizations.
“When we level the playing field through ethical business practices, we ensure that the best products win tenders. By mitigating the threat of corruption to progress, trade, and the global economy, we are ensuring decisions are made in the best interest of patients and SMEs,” said Gilbert Kaplan, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce, which serves as the initiative’s Project Overseer.
A draft publication presented at the forum, entitled “Strategies for Governments to Encourage Ethical Business Conduct,” outlines how economies can provide incentives for ethical business practices in the health sector.
For example, New Zealand Health Partnerships – a subsidiary owned and operated by twenty district health boards – requires all suppliers of clinical products to either be a member of the Medical Technology Association of New Zealand, which has an obligatory code of practice, or to observe the code without membership.
Meanwhile, the e-procurement system “ChileCompra,” used by Chile’s public sector, provides online ethics training to government suppliers.
Results of surveys that measure the program’s effectiveness show an industry welcoming of improving standards. In 2019, 87 biopharmaceutical and medical device industry associations in the APEC region have codes of ethics. That means high standard codes reach more than 20,000 enterprises, most of which are small businesses.
“Progress begets progress. The forum gains strength with every economy — its governments, healthcare professionals, patient groups, and businesses big and small — signing on. We invite all economies to join this collaborative approach to make the APEC region healthier and more prosperous for all,” said Evan Holley, Chair of the APEC SME Working Group.
Forum participants also welcome the opportunities to strengthen capacity. Currently, a virtual portal is being developed to guide medical device enterprises seeking to work with third parties. Another training initiative, the APEC Leaders in Ethics and Integrity Program, will equip founders and executives of small businesses to lead their organizations to adopt ethical business practices.
Close to 1500 policymakers, business leaders and academics from 21 APEC member economies will gather in Malaysia’s administrative capital to deliberate and advance a policy agenda for the region’s most pressing issues in the digital era, including multilateralism, trade and investment, human capital development, and sustainability.
The dozens of fora will converge here, guided by the theme ‘Optimising Human Potential towards a Future of Shared Prosperity’, to focus on the year’s priorities: improving the narrative of trade and investment; inclusive economic participation through the digital economy and technology; and driving innovative sustainability.
“Shared Prosperity is the idea that focuses on creating more inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure trade and investment, as regional cooperation can be fruitful for narrowing inequalities within and among economies,” said Hairil Yahri Yaacob, Chair of APEC 2020 Senior Officials.
Accounting for 60 percent of global GDP, APEC economies play a significant role in driving the world’s economic growth. Established in 1989, APEC also marks the start of a new era in 2020 as the forum finalises a renewed vision for the coming decades.
“The last thirty years have shown that regional cooperation is essential in addressing common challenges. APEC is stronger when we support each other to rise above shared vulnerabilities,” said Dr. Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat.
Media representatives can register for SOM1 and related meetings through this link, with registration closing on 31 January 2020. Further logistical information will be provided upon accreditation. All media representatives must be accredited and wear their identification badge at all times to gain access to the meeting venue, facilities and specified events open to media.