7 Medical Device Makers Sued

Seven surgical device manufacturers, including Medtronic Inc. and Boston Scientific Corp., have been sued for promoting their surgical devices for unapproved uses. The case has gained notoriety because a former employee of one surgical company has come forward as a whistleblower and revealed the improper marketing and Medicare fraud.
According to the complaint, “Boston Scientific and its Guidant Corp. unit initiated a coordinated nationwide sales campaign (including the use of illegal kickbacks and other improper means) to entice physicians and hospitals to use their products for off-label purposes.”
The suits were filed under the federal False Claims Act alleging the marketing caused excessive Medicare reimbursements.
Unfortunately, these types of lawsuits are not novel in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. The competition is so intense that some device and drug firms are willing to cross the ethical and legal line concerning how the products and drugs are marketed. Of course, the real loser in these marketing campaigns is the consumer whose doctor may be enticed to choose one of these medical devices or pharmaceuticals based partly on their marketing campaign. The doctor like the patient is assuming in good faith that these companies are complying with the law and their marketing literature is accurate. When this good faith bond is broken, the ultimate loser is the patient. The big pharma companies and medical device manufacturers are undeterred by these nuisance fines and continue to skirt the law.
Until such time as there is real reform in these industries, the companies will continue to act in this fashion. Change will only occur when it is no longer in their financial interest to circumvent the law.