December 29, 2010 · 1 comment
Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M. Sc, MPH
In a December 20, 2010 article, the Wall Street Journal addressed the royalties paid to back surgeons by a medical device manufacturer. The article highlights a group of five senior spine surgeons that received over $7 million from Medtronics in royalties and consulting fees. The article also goes on to suggest that the number of procedures involving spinal fusions performed by these physicians may have exceeded those in the general population of Medicare patients. However, it was noted that these surgeons did not receive royalties from procedures performed in their hospital using devices from the manufacturer in question, since this would have been an ethical violation and a conflict of interest. So where’s the problem here?
The issue at hand may be defining fair and reasonable compensation. It could also be the level of influence these surgeons may have on other spine surgeons to use devices in which they have a royalty payment from the manufacturer. And lastly, it could be argued that these consulting and royalty payments could amount to surrogate “kickback” payments to use and influence the use of certain devices. All of these issues are fraught with ethical dilemmas and moral challenges.
If I am the inventor in new technology to enhance televisions, and I sell this technology to a ... read more »