The Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) has issued a set of principles to guide the medical devices industry in addressing racial health disparities.

The principles call on the industry to promote inclusion and equity in health care, partner in education with stakeholders, advocate for and facilitate patient access to innovative technology and promote research equity in the medtech industry.

In a document laying out the full list of principles, AdvaMed recognised the “deep roots” that are linked to issues such as access to quality care, economic inequity, racism and conscious and unconscious bias.

Chair of the AdvaMed board of directors and Chairman and CEO of Stryker Kevin Lobo said: “Our industry develops innovative, effective products that improve and save lives, but we cannot assume that all who need them will get access to them.

“With these principles, our industry acknowledges the more active role we must play in breaking down barriers in communities of colour to ensure that we don’t allow racial inequities to impact access to advanced medical technologies which save and improve lives.

“I am encouraged with this first step, and am optimistic that while we have a lot more work to do, these principles will serve as a guidepost that will help our industry enact real change and meaningful progress.”


Covid-19 highlighted racial disparities in health

According to the full document, the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with recent attention to issues of social and civil injustice, highlighted the need to address health disparities generally and particularly within communities and patients of colour.

“Public health data reveals significant differences in the mortality rates for
patients of colour who are stricken by Covid-19 versus White patients,” it said.

“Social determinants of health, access to healthcare, affordability of care, and underlying medical conditions contribute to these disproportionate impacts.

“The prevalence of certain chronic illnesses within communities and patients of color also leads to devasting health impacts and decreased life expectancy.”