Device market comes under scrutiny

Last month I mentioned that Guidant was facing pressure for offering physicians $100 to fill out a survey about how its defibrillators and pacemakers could be improved. I think it’s fine to pay doctors for their time, but the Guidant program seemed a little suspect because there was apparently no limit to the number of surveys a physician could fill out.

Now the Justice Department has started an investigation of the defibrillator and pacemaker sales practices used by Guidant and its competitors Medtronic and St. Jude, according to the Wall St. Journal.

I find the medical device industry fascinating –the ingenuity and complexity of the devices is amazing, and the financial intertwining of physicians and device companies no less so. My personal favorite is orthopedics, which will be an interesting story if it’s ever told.

October 26, 2005

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