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What is the Hidden Cost of your Healthcare?

New Report: Procurement of Medical Goods by Australian Companies and Government

There are hidden costs in the production and procurement of medical goods by Australian companies and the public sector: mounting evidence shows that there is a high occurrence of labour and human rights abuses in the production of goods such as gloves, surgical instruments, clothing, footwear and electronics.  The production of these healthcare goods is tained by hazardous working conditions, labour explitation, child labour and other abuses.

Exploitation in Medical Goods Supply Chains | View PDF

The existence of human rights abuses in medical goods supply chains has implications for Australian healthcare companies and public procurement, as the health and well-being of Australians should not come at the cost of the abuse and exploitation of workers in low-wage countries.  

Australian healthcare companies that produce or procure these items, as well as governement, healthcare organisations and end-users, have the power and the responsibility to protect workers in the medical goods supply chains.

What the Government should do | View PDF

Although the healthcare sector constitutes the fourth largest ASX industry and includes businesses that produce goods such as gloves and healthcare electronics, as well as procuring companies such as aged-care providers, specialised healthcare services, and companies that retail pharmaceuticals, the Australian healthcare industry is not doing enough to address the human rights risks in its operations and supply chains.

The Do No Harm Report as uncovered that while most healthcare manufacturers show that they are aware of their human rights impacts, their policies often do not address critical areas such freedom of association, sourcing of raw materials, vulnerability of migrant workers and access to remediation.

Who are the ASX-listed Healthcare Companies in Australia?

Among procuring healthcare companies, only two out of ten have established and disclosed a supply chain or sourcing policy, while other ASX-listed healthcare procurers neglect to publicly address the human rights impacts of their business activities.

The report examines Australian publicly listed manufacturers Ansell, Lochlear, Fisher and Paykel, Nanosonics and Resmed. None of the companies have published policies on rights of migrant workers, the use of labour hire companies, recruitment fees, written payslips and confiscation of passports.

The report also examines publicly listed companies that provide healthcare goods including; Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, Estia Health, Healthscope, Japara Healthcare, Primary Health Care, Ramsay Health Care, Regis Healthcare, Sigma Pharmaceuticals, Sonic Healthcare, Virtus Health.

Companies Checklist

What companies should do to ensure safe procurement of medical goods | View PDF

Read the section on Gloves, Rubber, Surgical Instruments, Metal, Garments, Cotton, Electronics and Metals and Minerals.