Consumer Reports: Dangerous Medical Devices

cr_logo_home1

Most medical implants have never been tested for safety

Tens of millions of Americans live with medical devices implanted in their bodies-artificial joints, heart defibrillators, surgical mesh. And it’s a safe bet that most of them assume that someone, somewhere, tested the devices for safety and effectiveness.

But that is rarely the case. For most implants and other high-risk devices brought to market, manufacturers do nothing more than file some paperwork and pay the Food and Drug Administration a user fee of roughly $4,000 to start selling a product that can rack up many millions of dollars in revenue. Often, the only safety “testing” that occurs is in the bodies of unsuspecting patients-including two of the three people whose stories are told in this report.

As for the smaller number of high-risk products for which advance safety studies are required, government rules allow them to be sold based on studies that are smaller and less rigorous than those required for prescription drugs.

“Standards for devices exist, they just don’t make sense,” says Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D., a vocal critic of the current system and president of the National Research Center for Women & Families, a nonprofit advocacy organization.

To read the entire article, click here: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/consumer-reports-magazine/May-2012/medical-devices.htm