Medical-Product Testers Didn’t Report Complications

08-24-2011
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Surgeons who tested a bone-growth protein for the medical-product manufacturer Medtronic did not report serious complications with the product and had conflicts of interest, two recent investigations have uncovered.

A study published in Spine Journal earlier this year found that the surgeons who tested Infuse Bone Graft—a product that is now widely used in spine surgery and represents approximately $700 million in sales for Medtronic—did not report severe complications that arose in their clinical trials in 10 percent to 50 percent of subjects—complications including cancer, sterility, infections, bone dissolution and worsened back and leg pain. Following the study’s publication, an analysis by the Wall Street Journal revealed that 15 of the surgeons have collectively received at least $62 million from Medtronic for unrelated work.

The Senate Finance Committee is currently investigating whether the surgeons didn’t report the complications because of the previous payments. The affair sheds light on a shadowy, troubling aspect of the medical-product industry: the sometimes over-cozy financial relationship between manufacturers and testers.

“Medtronic paid millions to doctors, and now those same doctors, oddly enough, published the ‘science’ Medtronic needed to sell a product,” Paul Thacker, who works for the group Project On Government Oversight, commented to the Wall Street Journal.

If you believe you’ve been harmed by Infuse Bone Graft or another medical product, contact Hodes Milman Liebeck for a free case evaluation. We’re aggressive personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers based in Orange County, serving all of California. We have the experience to take on the medical industry and have achieved multi-million dollar verdicts for our clients.

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