Mass torts claims hold medical device industry accountable

It seems as if medical procedures are becoming a matter of routine in Tennessee and across the country. It is almost a given that the time will come for one to have a hip or knee replaced or to undergo the implantation of some other medical device. Often these devices improve the quality of life for patients and allow them to return to normal activities that an illness or injury previously prevented. Unfortunately, another result of the increasing use of medical devices is the number of mass torts claims based on defects.

One researcher recently released a book detailing the frightening secrets of the medical device industry. Nearly seven million Americans annually undergo surgical procedures to implant devices in their joints, hearts, spines and other regions of the body, but few realize how poorly regulated the medical device industry is. Only a small fraction of high-risk devices like nerve stimulators and defibrillators are tested, and there is currently no system in place for tracking the devices once they are implanted. This means there is no accurate way of knowing how many patients have suffered injuries or died because of defective devices.

Additionally, the author of the book suggests that some unethical practices may make doctors more inclined to use an untested medical device on a patient. In particular, he mentions the use of bribery wherein device manufacturers offer hospitals and surgeons millions of dollars, trips to Hawaii and other kickbacks to push the use of their products. The device industry often charges hospitals thousands of dollars more for a device than it costs to manufacture it.

Without reform for the existing laws, there may continue to be little oversight of the medical device industry. This may place millions of patients in jeopardy of receiving a medical device that is untested and may contain deadly defects. Those in Tennessee who suffer with side-effects or injuries from faulty implants may have recourse to mass torts claims to hold the industry accountable for their defective medical devices.

Source: alternet.org, "Inside the Medical Device Racket", Martha Rosenberg, March 6, 2018

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