In response to the Listener article 12 August “DIY Doctors” MTANZ sent a letter to the Listener Editor. The Listener published the MTANZ letter as their lead letter 14 August to the Editor but with edits.
Your article (DIY Doctors August 12) asserts that single-use medical devices are being sterilised and reused in surgery in New Zealand DHBs, contrary to manufacturer’s specifications.
The Medical Technology Association of New Zealand’s (MTANZ) members who are suppliers of medical devices, cannot condone the reuse and re-sterilising of devices that are labelled “single use only” and ignore the manufacturer’s instructions for safe sterilisation.
Your article’s suggestion that costs for medical devices have been rising faster than economic growth is incorrect. Prices for medical devices have remained static for many years. Since 2013 suppliers have been working with PHARMAC to successfully reduce costs and increase efficiencies as they negotiate national contracts.
Volume not price is increasing hospital spend on devices. Health Minister Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman’s media release on May 26, 2016 highlighted that between 2007/08 to 2014/15 there was an increase of more than 50,000 surgeries which all involve considerable input of medical technology.
MTANZ has been working with Government regulator, Medsafe, for many years to introduce Therapeutic Products legislation that would allow medical device suppliers to demonstrate that their device meets an internationally-recognised safety and performance standard before being placed on the NZ market.
Currently, the medical devices public and private hospitals procure are required to supply certification from credible, international regulatory authorities that prove a device has been subjected to a conformity assessment process and audited to an international standard (ISO).
New Zealand must not try to duplicate assessment of highly complicated technology when the device’s manufacture has already been subjected to robust audits. Duplication of this process in NZ will not add extra assurance of safety or performance, only cost.
MTANZ’s members are committed to supplying safe, life-saving devices of the highest quality that improve the health of New Zealanders.
Medical Technology Association of NZ"