Doctors on the Take: Conflicts of interest in Hip Replacement Surgery

Conflicts of interest affect outcomes as noted in this article on “new hips.”

Wright paid tens of thousands of dollars to a foundation Keggi helps run and gave him a trip to a conference in the Bahamas. Keggi recommended the ceramic device over the kinds of implants used in 97 percent of cases.

The ceramic joint made by Wright Medical Group Inc. shattered, leading to an infection and four more surgeries that left Hirschbeck permanently sidelined.

And costs:

The companies increased doctor compensation for 2008 to about $300 million, according to the data compiled by Bloomberg from reports posted on the device makers’ websites. Fees for 2008 were delivered in 2009, the surgeons say.

More on costs:

The financial ties between device makers and surgeons help explain why health-care costs in the U.S. rose at 2.5 times the rate of inflation in the past 10 years and account for a sixth of the economy. The $300 million works out to $300 for each of the 1 million hips and knees implanted in Americans in 2008.

In the U.S. in 2010, the average price of a primary artificial hip was $7,200, more than four times the $1,600 in Germany, says Melissa Hussey, a senior analyst on the orthopedic team at Millennium Research Group, based in Toronto. In Germany and other countries, she says, sales representatives have restricted access to surgeons.

Medicynical Note: So much for the “free market” system. Without regulation and limits companies will work endlessly to manipulate markets to their financial benefit. Are we fools or what?

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