You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2009.

Medtronic’s sales decline over charges “from a recent legal deal” of $360 million dollars. This legal deal was the result of patent infringement issues. $360 million dollars and patients can not even get their day in court.

“Medtronic Inc.’s fiscal first-quarter profit tumbled 38%, weighed down by charges from a recent legal deal, but the medical-devices maker’s core earnings and sales beat expectations with help from extra time on the fiscal calendar.”
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125119905047556583.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

Did these pathologist and/or the company spend resources to ensure this never happened again? Was this preventable? It is difficult to judge this without having been on the jury.

“…A pathologist mixed up her tissue sample with that of another woman who did…”

http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/04/25_stawickie_paincap/

Yes, their are some people that recover a tremendous amount of money for minor injuries. My question though is what is the empirical evidence that these type of awards are out of control.

Below is a story of a young boy. Was his verdict fair? If this were your son what would you do?

http://www.lectlaw.com/files/lit13.htm

Congressman Cathy McMorris Rodgers stated that the government should not be making recommendation regarding the new breast screening guidelines. Does this mean government cannot be trusted? If this is so then why has she not signed the Medical Device Safety Act of 2009?

So why have cost gone up even with tort reform? Are doctors any different then us normal human beings? After all as Dick Armey said, “If you can not make a profit from something then it offers no value.”

"There’s a lot of money to be made in owning imaging machines," said Dr. Richard Strax, president of the Texas Radiological Society. "You can buy a relatively inexpensive second- or third-hand MRI machine for a few hundred thousand dollars and make millions on it."
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-imaging_centers.ART.State.Edition2.4bbe13c.html

Even with almost a decade of tort reform Texas still has a doctor shortage.

“Texas has a shortage of physicians, ranking 43rd out of 50 states in physicians per capita. The state leads the nation in population growth and has large numbers of both the very young and the elderly, groups that use the most health care services. “
http://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=7514

“Principal Findings. Using a variety of empirical specifications, there was no statistically significant evidence that noneconomic damage caps exerted any meaningful influence on the cost of employer-sponsored health insurance.

Conclusions. The findings suggest that tort reforms have not translated into insurance savings”
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120120505/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

“Steven Olsen is blind and brain damaged because, as a jury ruled, he was a victim of medical negligence when he was two-years-old. He fell on a stick in the woods while hiking. Under the family’s HMO plan, the hospital pumped Steven up with steroids and sent him away with a brain tumor, although his parents had asked for a CAT scan because they knew Steven was not well. (So much for “defensive medicine.”) Steven Olsen came back to the hospital comatose. Had he received the $800 CAT scan, which would have detected a growing brain mass, he would have his sight and be healthy today.

A jury awarded $7.1 million in non-economic damages for Steven’s avoidable life of darkness and suffering. However, the jury was not told of a two-decade-old cap on non-economic damages in the state — the very law that conservatives want imposed on the nation and that CBO “scored.” The judge was forced to reduce the amount to $250,000. The jurors only found out about it by reading it in the newspaper, provoking the jury foreman write a scathing letter to the editor in the San Diego Union Tribune about this horrible California law.”
http://keanegroup.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/medical-malpractice-tort-reform-we-are-already-suffering-and-dont-need-more/

So the industry has lacked profits and innovation prior to the Reigel v. Medtronic ruling of 2008? Senator Hatch has told us that innovation would suffer if we passed the Medical Device Safety Act of 2009. If I remember in my econ classes, a sector that is profitable invites new players into the market.

“Medical devices form one of the largest industries in healthcare sector with an estimated size of $250 billion in 2009 and a growth rate of 6%-8%. The industry has been outsourcing medical device manufacturing services for almost a decade now. This trend has brought about huge profit margins, which has attracted many new players. Outsourcing has helped medical device manufacturers reduce product development cost by 10% to 30%. The services outsourcing industry has also gained from the entry of new medical device manufacturing companies, as these players lack experience in the field.”
http://druganddevicemarket.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/outsourcing-opportunities-in-the-medical-device-2009-%E2%80%93-2014-market-research-report/

Following are two stories of people denied their day in court due to tort reform

Following is a  link discussing how Ohio tort reform impacts those that need help. I wonder if the doctor in this story is considered negligent.

http://ezinearticles.com/?Tort-Reform-in-Ohio-Makes-Suing-a-Doctor-Impossible-Unless-the-Outcome-is-Death&id=2720485

“Few lawyers are accepting medical malpractice cases anymore in Ohio. It is hard to get a case into court, and those that make it into court are being lost at a rate of eighty percent. This is due to tort reform laws passed several years ago and an advertising campaign designed to poison the minds of jurors against medical malpractice cases. Thus, lawyers are only taking the worst and the most black-and-white cases.”
http://ens3.wordpress.com/2009/11/07/fifty-thousand-dollar-sinus-polyps/

It is estimated that there is approximately 60 billion dollars a year in tort expense for health care. I guess it is easier for the Chamber of Commerce and congress to go after individuals through tort reform rather then the industry itself because they have a lot of cash to give to politicians.

“When it comes to selling drugs to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities across the country, Omnicare has a prescription for success – a market share in excess of 70 percent and more than $6 billion in sales last year alone.”
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/03/cbsnews_investigates/main5514603.shtml
Nov. 3, 2009

So Senator Hatch why should I trust the FDA? Senator Hatch will you give the FDA the needed funds to do their job?

“In one instance, it took the FDA 11 years to debar a doctor who had been convicted of 53 counts of criminal offense for, among other things, bribing an employee to conceal information about the attempted suicide of a clinical-trial patient and prescribing a drug without a license.

Types of misconduct that can get doctors debarred include submitting false information to the FDA, forging patient consent forms and not reporting when a patient has an adverse reaction to an experimental drug.”
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125622345164801405.html

“Delfina Hernandez helped to carry out one of the most audacious drug research frauds in American history, but because federal drug regulators sent a legal notice years late and to the wrong address, she can legally continue to conduct research.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/health/policy/22fda.html
October 21, 2009

Given the fact that this has happened what has been put in place to prevent this from happening again?

“The agency’s scientific reviewers repeatedly and unanimously over many years decided that the device, known as Menaflex and manufactured by ReGen Biologics Inc., was unsafe because the device often failed, forcing patients to get another operation.

But after receiving what an F.D.A. report described as “extreme,” “unusual” and persistent pressure from four Democrats from New Jersey — Senators Robert Menendez and Frank R. Lautenberg and Representatives Frank Pallone Jr. and Steven R. Rothman — agency managers overruled the scientists and approved the device for sale in December.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/25/health/policy/25knee.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp
September 24, 2009

“Despite assertions that high malpractice rates are driving them out of the state, Massachusetts doctors are paying less than they were in 1990, after adjusting for inflation, according to a Suffolk University Law School study.”

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/05/13/most_mass_doctors_face_lower_cost_for_malpractice_coverage/?s_campaign=8315