Code of Ethics: Interaction with the Medical Industry

The primary focus of the Orthopaedic profession is to provide excellence in patient care and the BOA expects its members to maintain the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and ethical behaviour.

It is recognised that collaboration between clinicians and industry is important in advancing and improving patient care. Industry often supports the development of new technologies, research, innovation and the continuing education of orthopaedic surgeons. It is clear in all commercial relationships that promotional expenditure and sponsorship can be used to influence the behaviour of individuals and it is in the interests of clinicians and the medical industry to ensure that this does not occur and that the relationship is totally transparent to outside inspection.

The UK Government has given specific advice upon the place of promotional expenditure and sponsorship in guidance issued relating to the new Bribery Act, which came into force in April 2011. The guidance suggests that “reasonable and proportionate promotional expenditure which seeks to improve the image of a commercial organisation, better to present products or services, or establish cordial relations, is recognised as an established and important part of doing business.” The act does not seek to criminalise normal and reasonable hospitality. Hospitality is unlikely to breach the Act if it is reasonable and proportionate, has a bona fide business purpose and is not intended to inappropriately influence an individual.