Medtech POV Blog

The AdvaMed Code of Ethics: Protecting and Driving Innovation for 30 Years

Ashley McEvoy

“Here at J&J MedTech, the AdvaMed Code of Ethics serves as a valuable resource for interactions with healthcare professionals and stakeholders. The AdvaMed Code provides a framework for our collective commitment to integrity and transparency, and builds trust and credibility within the industry. Aligned to our Johnson & Johnson Credo, ethical practices and patient safety are our top priority.” 

Ashley McEvoy, Executive Vice President and Worldwide Chairman, MedTech, Johnson & Johnson | Chair, AdvaMed Board of Directors 

  “Developing and sustaining the AdvaMed Code of Ethics is one of AdvaMed’s most meaningful achievements during my 20+ years on the AdvaMed Board. The Code represents the medtech’s industry commitment to serve patients based on the cornerstone values of innovation, education, integrity, respect, responsibility, and transparency.”

Michael A. Mussallem, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Edwards Lifesciences

This April, AdvaMed celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Code of Ethics on Interactions with Health Care Professionals (the Code). For three decades now, the Code has guided the medical technology industry and improved medical innovation by establishing ethical parameters for interactions between medtech innovators and health care professionals. The ultimate beneficiaries of Code adherence, as with all medtech work, are patients. The Code reinforces integrity in medical decision-making, reassuring patients that the medtech used in their care is always in their best interests. 

A Living, Global Gold Standard for the Innovations Patients Need 

Because medtech is continuously evolving, the Code is a living document, updated and refreshed in pace with the rapid development of the medical technologies deployed for patients. One recent revision applies to medtech innovators as “solutions providers,” working as partners with health care providers in achieving positive patient outcomes, rather than “vendors and suppliers.” Another recent update reflects the industry’s commitment to improve health equity, inclusion, and diversity, and extends the Code’s ethical expectations to investors.  

Executive Commitment to Guide Ethical Decision-making 

AdvaMed and its board of medtech CEOs are committed to making agile, seamless updates because of the clear principles and values framework underlying the Code. The framework also enables medtech innovators to address unexpected circumstances not contemplated by regulations or captured in the Code, responding ethically in new situations.  This approach served industry and patients well during the pandemic. 

Since its inception, the Code has ensured that interactions between medtech companies and health care professionals not only comply with all applicable laws and regulations but also:   

  1. support conflict-free medical decision-making in the best interests of patients;
  2. maintain appropriate transparency to instill public confidence and trust. 

The Cornerstone Values Underlying the Code

Under Our Code, Patients Come First, Every Time

The Code reflects the unique nature of medtech in that collaboration and interaction between medtech creators and providers is critical to innovation, and the work requires the highest ethical standards and integrity because patients come first. The guidance shapes the conduct of the research and development that is necessary for medtech invention and the demonstrated effectiveness and safety of new medtech before reaching patients. The guidance also includes training and briefings for physicians using new medical devices, again to ensure patient benefit and safety are at the forefront.   

Because the AdvaMed Code sets a universal ethical standard and offers a guidance model that works, it’s known as the global gold standard for the medical technology industry’s collaboration with health care professionals. Hundreds of companies have already adopted the Code, and thousands of industry professionals have become Code-certified so they can correctly adhere to these important principles. 

As we look forward to the next 30 years, continuing to uplift the principles and practical considerations set forth in AdvaMed’s Code of Ethics will ensure medical innovation can continue to benefit patients for generations to come.  

Learn about Code of Ethics certification and training

“As innovators in medical technology, we have a great responsibility to the patients we serve, and it is important that we operate in a way that honors their expectation that we deliver high-quality lifesaving and life-sustaining innovations. It also means that along the path of developing and delivering these innovations, we engage with partners in an honest and trustworthy way. The Code of Ethics is a living document that is our compass in ensuring that we are engaging responsibly with all, whether that is employees, patients, customers, communities, governments, shareholders or others.” 

— Michael A. Mussallem, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Edwards Lifesciences