J&J Subpoenaed over Bile Duct Stent

The large pharmaceutical company and medical device maker, Johnson & Johnson, has been issued a subpoena by the Justice Department concering its sale of bile duct stents used to treat liver obstructions. The investigation and subpoena revolve around allegations the company many have sold the bile duct stents for unapproved uses, a violation of federal law. Doctors may prescribe medicines and use devices for unapproved uses but the manufacturing companies are prohibited from marketing a drug or device for uses that have not been specifically approved by the FDA. This is an obvious precaution designed to protect the consumer.
Biliary stents are approved to treat obstructions in tubes that carry bile, a digestive fluid, to the intestines, but reports to the F.D.A. indicate that they are often inserted to prop open blood vessels in the legs. The reports also stated that unapproved uses may be injuring patients.