Medical Conflicts of Interest: Part of the Problem

It’s difficult to measure the insidious effect of money on medical practices but this case provides evidence that we have a problem. The medical board of Maryland revoked a cardiologists medical license for implanting unnecessary medical stents.

The issue was first brought to the public’s attention in late 2009, when St. Joseph Medical Center sent letters to Midei’s stenting patients, explaining that their stents may have been implanted unnecessarily. The letters became the subject of an article in the Baltimore Sun.

“This report sets forth alarming evidence that patients at St. Joseph Medical Center received unnecessary and potentially harmful stent implants time and again -– a pattern that is shocking, disturbing and shameful,” wrote Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the committee.

Abbott paid Midei nearly $31,000, put him on its list of top stent volume cardiologists, and paid for a barbecue and a crab dinner at his home, according to the Finance Committee report. (Medicynical emphasis)  After St. Joseph barred him from practicing in 2009, Abbott hired him to prepare safety reports in China and Japan.

Medicynical Note: Previous posts have highlighted similar unethical behavior of psychiatrists, urologists, and researchers.

The medical industrial complex’s interest is in making money. Quality of care, ethics and value are not their concern.

Our republican congress wants less regulation.  This case would seem to indicate we need more and closer oversight.


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