The loss of the much discussed Wyeth decision has made this a bad week for pharma. It may get worse. A March 4, 2009 NYT article addresses Justice Department plans to prosecute of doctors for taking kickbacks, and states the following:
“… But within a few months, officials plan to file civil and criminal charges against a number of surgeons who they say demanded profitable consulting agreements from device makers in exchange for using their products.”
One hopes the “consulting agreements” did not involve surgeries that ended up as data points in medical studies, and instead were limited to instances in which doctor x chose to use device A instead of device B. But if the surgeries ended up as part of studies on medical devices, then product liability issues may get even tougher for the involved institutions, especially if there are whistleblowers involved. Let’s hope that is not the case.