Friday, November 8, 2013

On the one hand, kudos to Lenox Hill Hospital’s Chair of Urology Dr. David Samadi, who highlighted the importance of early screening and prevention by performing prostate exams live on NBC Today Show anchors Matt Lauer and Al Roker. Helping people understand the ease of this screening test is a public service.

On the other hand, this is the same Dr. Samadi who permitted himself to appear in a testimonial video produced by Intuitive Surgery (posted on August 28, 2013) to support its marketing campaign for use of the daVinci robotic surgery machine, specifically by playing on men's fear of impotence and incontinence. His statement--"There's a huge benefit to patients when they go through the daVinci prostate surgery"--is not supported by scientific inquiry. This video was posted in the midst of numerous reports and concerns about the use of this technique.

Recall this report by Citron Research, on December 19, 2012:

Imagine a medical company with a single product — one which lacks any clinical data proving medical efficacy superior to other conventional treatments.

And another particularly damning report from Citron in October 2013:

In over 12 years of publishing probative stock research, Citron is most proud of the work we published on Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) starting last December. Not because the stock suffered a decline of over 30% amidst a record- setting bull market, but rather because we helped raise to the forefront of public awareness the undisclosed dangers of robotic surgery and the subsequent dilemma: what happens when medical best practices collide with unbridled thirst for profits.


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