Medical Bribery: Boston Scientific and Payments to Cardiologists

A whistleblower at Madigan Army Medical Center believes he is a victim of retaliation for his efforts. For a time, two cardiologists at Madigan received payments from a medical device manufacturer (Boston Scientific). The cardiology department at the time insisted only on using devices from that manufacturer. The cardiologists, who were found in conflict with the Army’s policy, maintain their patient care judgment was not prejudiced.

Subsequently

Eisenhauer (Medicynical note: the whistleblower) says his own reputation and career came under attack from his supervisors at Madigan, located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Tacoma. “Not only did they do nothing to correct the situation, they participated in a scheme to run me off,” said Eisenhauer, who was awarded a Bronze Star service medal for his duty in Iraq in 2009. “It was easier to discredit me than address the criminal activity.”

It should be noted that:

investigation resulted in a guilty plea by Maj. Jason Davis, then Madigan’s chief of cardiology, who admitted to taking more than $4,800 in illegal payments from Boston Scientific.

The long-standing practice of drug companies and medical-equipment manufacturers offering doctors free trips, speaking honorariums and other payments is controversial. Critics say the money may often represent kickbacks for favoring a company’s drugs or devices.

Still, in civilian practices such payments are generally considered legal. In the military, however, doctors are prohibited from taking such payments. (Medicynical Note: Not very reassuring)

Read the article for details on the hassles Eisenhauer faced and the reasons he left the military.

Medicynical Note: The problem was deeply rooted at Madigan, and according to Eisenhauer 1.2 million dollars in sole-source acquisitions, presumably in cardiology alone, were pushed through. Imagine the cost if similar practices are extant at other military facilities–as they undoubtedly are.

Consider also the cost implications of such bribery (for lack of a better description) on the more massive civilian health care sector.


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One response to “Medical Bribery: Boston Scientific and Payments to Cardiologists

  1. Pingback: Linking Media Logic to Defense Health Programs – Keeping Sweet in Seattle

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