Health Care Renewal has an eloquent summary of Guidant's recent troubles, and what it means for patients:
Attorney General Elliot Spitzer has sued Guidant for fraud, charging it concealed defects in its implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs, devices that use electric shocks to the heart to attempt to restore normal rhythm). In summary:It's as simple as that, folks. Go read the entire post for more of the story.
• Guidant has admitted that it did not disclose information about defects in ICDs to doctors and patients.
• These ICDs are very expensive, costing about $25,000.
• Had the physicians and patients known prospectively that the ICDs were not as reliable as previously thought, they might have chosen not to implant them, and implanting such flawed defibrillators provided less benefit to the population of patients receiving them than they thought they would receive.
• Thus, by concealing the information, Guidant likely made more money and increased costs to the health care system, but decreased the benefits to patients.