Saturday, March 29, 2014

My post of March 20 made note of a Seattle doctor who permitted her name and reputation--and that of her hospital--to be used in support of a medical equipment company.  Well, I'm guessing that--for whatever reason--either she or her employer told the company to stop doing that.

Luckily for the sake of American commerce, the company was quickly able to find a replacement.  Now the company's website has the following testimonial:

As in the case of the previous doctor, I have no reason to assume that Dr. Deckers is anything but a competent and caring doctor, but this kind of endorsement raises all kinds of questions.  Has she received financial support from this company, and, if so, has that been disclosed under the hospital's conflict of interest rules?

This company seems to have no trouble finding doctors to endorse its product.  Back in 2011, one of its press releases said:

“The TRUCLEAR System has quickly become the standard of care that women deserve,” commented Robert M. Biter, M.D., founder, Seaside Women’s Health, San Diego, Calif.  “It is a safe and effective way to diagnose and treat causes of abnormal uterine bleeding and risk of pregnancy loss.  TRUCLEAR has truly revolutionized my practice.”

Another from that year noted:

“I am thrilled that Smith & Nephew is introducing the new TRUCLEAR SIM Morcellation Simulator which will enable medical students, residents and practicing physicians to perform virtual hysteroscopic morcellation polypectomies and myomectomies,” said Larry Glazerman, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery at University of South Florida Health. “Since patient outcomes are the most important part of any procedure, it is an incredible opportunity for gynecologists to perfect their technique prior to ever touching a patient.”

And in 2012, we learn:

“The TRUCLEAR 5.0 System combines safety, precision, and ease in the treatment of endometrial polyps and small uterine fibroids,” explains Dr. Charles Miller, Past President of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) and President, the International Society for Gynecologic Endoscopy (ISGE) in Naperville, Ill. “With this less invasive technology, I am looking forward to using TRUCLEAR right in my office – this is especially ideal for my fertility patients whom I prefer not to dilate.”

Also, in that year:

“With the TRUCLEAR System, I have the confidence to safely and effectively resect submucosal fibroids and endometrial polyps under constant visualization,” says David A. Stone, M.D., FACOG, who practices in metropolitan Detroit. “While using the TRUCLEAR ULTRA, I was able to remove a 2.5 centimeter diameter submucosal fibroid in a matter of a few minutes. Using this system can help preserve a woman's future fertility by minimizing damage to the uterus.”

What is it about these doctors that causes them to publicly endorse the product of a medical device company? Are they so moved by its efficacy that they feel highly motivated to spread the word? Or is there some relationship between them and the company that provides the impetus for such statements?

Why aren't health care journalists on top of every single such case of possible conflict of interest in their community?


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