Granny Bird Award: Johnson & Johnson
The winner of this edition of the Granny Bird Award, an award given from time to time to those who go out of their way to harm the health and welfare of elders, goes to a large health care provider for its distribution of a hip replacement device that the company had to have known was was unsafe.
From the New York Times:
The health care products giant Johnson & Johnson continued to market an artificial hip in Europe and elsewhere overseas after the Food and Drug Administration rejected its sale in the United States based on a review of company safety studies.
During that period, the company also continued to sell in this country a related model, which earlier went on the market using a regulatory loophole that did not require a similar safety review. ...
...During some eight years on the market, the two implants were used in about 93,000 patients worldwide, about one-third of them in the United States. Both models were based on the same component, an all-metal hip socket cup that experts say was faulty in design. [Emphasis added]
Johnson & Johnson behaved despicably in two separate ways. The first is the company went ahead and sold the device in other countries even after the FDA rejected it for safety reasons. What, people (mostly elders) in other countries aren't entitled to a safe hip replacement?
The second is that the company used a regulatory loophole to get a related device on the US market and continued to sell it even after the FDA disapproved the other device for safety reasons. The designs of a crucial part were the same.
What is particularly galling is that the company did nothing illegal, nothing which would bring the wrath of the federal government down on it. The recipients of the device, however, do have standing for some pretty hefty product liability suits. I hope those affected lawyer-up with the best lawyers in the nation to smack the hell out a company which showed such total disregard for the health and safety of its consumers.
Ah, the joys of unfettered capitalism, where all that matters is making money anyway one can.