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Defective drugs and medical device cost Medicare billions

Despite a sharp increase in recalled medical devices during the first part of the 2000s, the federal government claims that it does not have adequate data that is needed to track problem devices. Despite this claim, Medicare recently disclosed that it spent $1.5 billion on defective cardiac devices in a single decade. Defective drugs and medical devices are much more than a financial drain; they are also a serious threat to the health and well-being of Tennessee patients.

A study that looked at data from 2003 to 2012 determined that recalls for defective medical devices almost doubled. Many of those recalls were for cardiac devices, which can have life or death implications. However, the report that revealed this serious issue failed to name any of the involved device makers. The office of the Inspector General recommended that Medicare begin requiring device identifiers on claim forms when a patient undergoes a procedure for device replacement because of recall or failure.

The physical toll of having a medical device implanted in a person's body is already heavy. Recalls for failing or defective devices not only cause additional physical impact for patients, but also financial implications. Medicare recipients alone had to shell out $140 million in deductibles and co-payments for failed heart device replacements over the course of the study.

Defective drugs and medical devices carry both physical and financial implications for patients. These damages do not have to be carried by the patient alone. Carefully prepared claims for defective medical products can result in just compensation for Tennessee victims' pain, suffering and financial damages.

Source:, "Medicare paid $1.5 billion over defective cardiac devices", Mark Zdechlik, Oct. 2, 2017

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