November 7, 2007

A bit of corruption in the body

I don't talk about it much but I am having a problem with my hip and am looking at getting a replacement sometime next year. I had bad skin as a child (still do but it was a lot worse then), the standard course of treatment was a couple weeks on Prednisone or some other steroid and then topical treatment with a steroid cream. Turns out that this can cause Avascular Necrosis at a later date... Bummer... So anyway, I'm on a few email lists for AVN and Hip replacement technologies and I run into this little nugget:
Hub surgeons got millions from implant firms
Two Boston orthopedic surgeons each received $6.75 million this year from a maker of joint replacement implants, the largest among hundreds of payments revealed in a $311 million settlement of a federal criminal case that alleged five companies paid doctors to use their products.

Dr. Richard Scott and Dr. Thomas Thornhill of Brigham and Women's Hospital were paid royalties and consulting fees this year by the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, according to documents made public by the company last week. DePuy makes implants used in hip and knee replacements.

Four other companies - Zimmer Inc., Biomet Orthopedics Inc., Smith & Nephew Inc., and Stryker Orthopaedics - were also part of an agreement with the US Department of Justice. The five companies, which together share 95 percent of the market for hip and knee implants, were being investigated for using consulting agreements with orthopedic surgeons to influence their choice of implants. Making payments was a common practice from 2002 through 2006, according to the US attorney's office in New Jersey.
In the Doctors defence:
Scott and Thornhill said in a statement supplied by Brigham and Women's that the royalties come from their design of a knee replacement implant licensed to J&J in 1986 and a hip replacement implant licensed in 1991. They said they donate their fees from consulting to charity.
Emphasis mine. And people wonder why medical insurance is so #@!$ expensive... Posted by DaveH at November 7, 2007 10:22 PM
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