An influential health insurer trade group has called for more stringent rules related to the approval and tracking of medical devices. The request follows revelations of gaps or loopholes in the federal regulatory procedures which allow potentially dangerous medical devices to be put on the market with minimal safety and performance testing.
There has been substantial media attention and reaction from affected patients regarding metal-on-metal hip implants over the last decade or so. Of course, one of the most famous examples is the articular surface replacement, or ASR, implant which was manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Tens of thousands of the devices were implanted in patients before injuries, immobility, and even metal poisoning led to their recall in 2010.
Defective medical devices are not limited to those implanted in a patient’s body. Patients who must use canes, wheelchairs, or other devices to get around are susceptible to a whole array of device warnings and risks that other Americans are not.
When most patients go in for surgery—especially serious surgeries like knee replacements—they are not concerned with the materials that doctors use. Most patients trust that their doctor is the expert, and will do what is necessary to ensure that the patient can recover quickly and well. Yet sometimes shady business deals are at fault for surgeries gone wrong, and doctors are helpless to remedy them.
The benefits and risks of mammography screening have long been debated in the scientific community. According to the National Cancer Institute, while screening may be effective in reducing the number of deaths from breast cancer through early detection of a cancerous tumor, it can, at the same time, cause harm to the woman who is participating.
It has been several years since Michigan-based medical device manufacturer Stryker issued a voluntary recall of their Rejuvenate and ABH II modular-neck stem metal hip replacements, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The recall was made after many patients complained that the hip replacement was defective, causing them more pain and suffering than before the implant was surgically inserted.
In mid-January the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a first-of-its-kind device to treat obesity, according to a FDA press release. The device, known as the Maestro Rechargeable System, realigns nerve pathways between the brain and the stomach. It’s the first FDA-approved device to fight obesity since 2007, and is approved for patients who have a body mass index of 35 to 45, with at least one other obesity-related condition. One such condition would be Type 2 diabetes.
In what will likely be the first of many settlements to come, Johnson & Johnson has agreed to resolve claims from four Missouri women that its Ethicon Prolift vaginal mesh implant caused serious injuries.
Sometimes a medical device meant to provide relief for patients suffering and expedite healing causes more pain than relief. One of these devices is known as a pain pump, most commonly used in patients recovering from shoulder surgery after a serious shoulder injury.
Though the manufacturer has come under fire for defective devices in the past, this year the da Vinci Sp Intuitive single port robot system used in surgical procedures is expected to hit the consumer market, according to MedGadget.com. The system is designed to allow for single-incision surgeries, and is a competitor to manufacturing giant Titan.