Hearing aid sector put on notice

Northern based Government Senator Ian Macdonald has welcomed moves by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to encourage greater transparency in the hearing aid sector.

Senator Macdonald said an ACCC report into the industry sector, Issues around the sale of hearing aids, identified business practices involving incentive based sales and commissions, used to motivate clinicians to sell particular brands of hearing aids. 

“It’s concerning to think that there are a small number of clinicians engaged in dishonest incentive programs, benefitting at the expense of vulnerable patients by selling them more expensive hearing aids,” Senator Macdonald said.

Senator Macdonald said the ACCC has asked hearing clinic operators to review their incentive programs and performance measures to ensure they don’t create a conflict between healthcare advice and sales.

Hearing devices are regulated under the Therapeutic Goods Act, which prohibits marketing campaigns that offer incentives or inducements for practitioners to supply any particular brand or type of hearing device.

“I am pleased to see the Federal Government immediately respond to the ACCC’s report, with the Minister for Aged Care indicating that the Department of Health will consider these recommendations to take steps to ban commissions, incentive programs and sales targets,” Senator Macdonald said.

Consumers and clinicians are encouraged to contact the ACCC to report any concerns about the sale of hearing aids. They (the ACCC) have also released guidance material to help consumers make an informed choice. It is available at www.accc.gov.au

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