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Medical Device Dangers: Part I – Is your doctor being paid by the companies that make them?

There have been a lot of stories in the news lately about medical devices and how consumers should be cautious before having one implanted.

One story, reported by NBC News, notes that “A 2017 study found that roughly half of U.S. doctors receive payments from pharmaceutical and medical device companies.”

That’s roughly $2.5 billion dollars in just one year.

NBC’s Stephanie Gosk interviewed a woman who believes payments like these affected her quality of care. She suspects that her doctor may have chosen a device simply because he was paid to use it; not that it necessarily may have been the right one for her.

In 2016, the woman, who had been tested positive for the breast cancer gene, had undergone a double mastectomy and a breast reconstruction performed by a plastic surgeon near Los Angeles.

Right after the surgery she suffered excruciating pain. She did not know that a surgical scaffold device, implanted by the doctor and manufactured by Allergen, had failed.

It turns out that the device, while approved by the FDA, was not specifically approved for breast reconstruction surgery. NBC News reported that he doctor was a paid consultant and researcher for Allergen, owned stock in the company, and was paid nearly $470,000 for his participation.

By law, doctors do not have to disclose such financial ties to a patient during treatment. The information is available publicly, but consumer watchdogs say few people actually check.

The doctor declined an interview but noted on his web site that his financial associations have no bearing on his clinical recommendations.

The report does not reveal whether there has been legal action taken against the doctor or Allergen and the piece does not assume or infer there was malpractice, although the case is still under investigation.

Theodoros & Rooth has well over a century of combined experience dealing with dozens of serious cases of people harmed by the negligence of a doctor, hospital, or other caregiver. If you feel that malpractice may be involved in your case, please contact us immediately. The attorneys at Theodoros & Rooth will investigate your case and take swift legal action if we believe you are a victim. There is never a charge for the initial consultation.