Bad Back Investments
The New York Times has reported New Jersey’s Attorney General, Anne Milgram, announced a settlement with medical device maker, Synthes.
The consumer fraud case alleged that the device maker paid researchers, in company stock, to recommend their ProDisc artificial spinal disk. Although Synthes agreed to the settlement, “in the interest of a speedy resolution to the inquiry,” they did not admit to any wrongdoing.
The settlement stipulates that Synthes is to “disclose any future payments or investments held by doctors involved in researching its products.”
In a statement, Ms. Milgram said:
“It is outrageous that doctors who are testing, and in many cases, recommending the use of certain high-risk medical devices are being compensated with stock in the very companies that make these devices…”
Upon further investigation, it was learned many doctors had investments in the company and that Synthes and doctors had failed to disclose such conflicts to the FDA. In a letter to the FDA and members of Congress, Ms Milgram, criticized the agency for their lack of regulating financial conflicts of interest.
In 2008, The New York Times wrote an article about the ProdDisc and a clinical study that involved almost 240 patients. The research took place at 17 centers; “doctors at about half of the 17 research centers involved in the study… stood to profit financially if the Prodisc succeeded…” Their report to the FDA did not include an “unusually large number of patients,” some of whom had unfavorable outcomes. See: Financial Ties Are Cited as Issue in Spine Study - New York Times
Stay tuned. The Attorney General’s office will be looking into other conflicts of interest within the medical device industry; they have already issued subpoenas to several major device makers.
For the full story see: Medical Device Maker Settles With New Jersey - NYTimes.com
Question: After reading this, how confident would you be about back surgery? Or any surgery? How do you feel about the passage of the Medical Device Safety Act? What else can we do to protect our health and wellbeing?
Hat tip: REED ABELSON, NYT, Published: May 6, 2009