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May 07, 2012

FDA, Help: Medical Devices Maim and Kill Thousands: The Corporate Whistleblower Center

Hip replacements that fail within months because of their defective metal-on-metal parts. Drug-coated heart stents that cause blood clots and other possibly deadly complications.  Faulty defibrillator wires that can shock the heart or even kill, when they misfire.             

And a government agency that may or may not do enough testing on these and other medical devices before they approve them for sale.  But that may all be changing, and the Corporate WhistleBlower Center is hot on the trail to make sure that it does.

The center announced today it has launched an investigation into what it considers to be “an extraordinarily corrupt U.S. medical device industry” to encourage medical device representatives to step forward if they have “significant proof of wrongdoing involving Medicare, or Medicaid fraud, and or blackmailing hospitals into using their medical devices,” stated in a press release.

Sound a little film noir? The reality is that, back in 2004, almost half a million people suffered injuries, and 2,800 died in 2006, according to Dr. Steven Nissen, who’s been named the “Medical Whistleblower.”

"While one of our affiliated initiatives is very focused on problematic metal on metal hip implants, this campaign is not just focused on hip implants,” the Corporate Whistleblower Center said in a press release. “We are also very interested in talking with medical device representatives from all areas involving medical devices such as artificial knees, stents, medical devices used in spinal surgeries, etc. The medical device world in the U.S. is a very corrupt, nontransparent, and grotesque, and we intend to expose this entire industry for what it is."

But exposing this can be dangerous. The center gives the example of an employee finally turning his company, which makes defective surgical implant devices, in, explaining, “Last week we received a call from a medical device representative, who finally had to step up to the plate about the fact that his medical device company was selling a defective device. He was afraid his company would harm him, or that his stepping forward might get him black balled from the medical device industry, but he set aside his concerns, and did the right thing. Medicare, and Medicaid fraud was involved, and because his company was selling a defective medical device we think he is going to get a huge reward."

If you’re thinking of doing this, be careful, the center advises. Do not go to the government first, if you are a major whistleblower, it says. "Major whistleblowers frequently go to the federal government thinking they will help. It’s a huge mistake. Frequently government officials could care less, or they are incompetent." Also do not go to the news media with your whistleblower information. Public revelation of a whistleblower's information could destroy any prospect for a reward.

And finally, do not try to force a government contractor, or corporation to come clean to the government about their wrongdoing. "Fraud is so rampant among federal contractors, that any suggestion of exposure might result in an instant job termination, or harassment of the whistleblower,” the center warned. “We say, come to us first, tell us what type of information you have, and if we think its sufficient, we will help find the right law firms, to assist in advancing your information."

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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