Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Are cardiologists from UMC of Southern Nevada taking payments to use Biotronik devices?

That’s what Nevada state officials are trying to determine. It’s perfectly legal for physicians to take consulting fees from a device manufacturer, but it sure can look suspicious when a patient ends up getting a device made by the company that’s been paying his doctor a monthly fee. A pacemaker or implantable defibrillator can cost up to $35,000.

A recent New York Times article alleges that cardiologists from UMC of Southern Nevada took money from Biotronik to use the company’s medical devices. According to the paper, 95 percent of last year’s  implants at UMC were Biotronik devices. In contrast, Biotronik has an estimated 5 percent share of the US market for pacemakers and implantable defibrillators.

Earlier this year, St. Jude Medical agreed to pay $16 million to settle allegations that the company paid kickbacks to doctors who implanted its heart devices in patients.

Watch the report by a Las Vegas NBC affiliate:

(Here’s a link to AdvaMed’s Code of Ethics as mentioned above.)

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