For those of you in Guidant news withdrawal, the NYTimes has a piece today recounting the many missteps the company made last year, based on newly released documents and emails from inside the company:
Guidant executives, both then and now, have defended their decision not to publicize certain device defects, arguing that to have done so would have exposed patients to the greater risks posed by replacement surgery. But some company executives quickly realized that to win back the trust of their customers – doctors – they had to change the way they disclosed problems, the records show.
Some physicians were particularly upset that Guidant had sold potentially flawed units out of inventory, rather than pulling them back so that the units would not be implanted.
“I am not critical of Guidant’s device problems – these devices are so complex, issues are expected,” wrote one physician, Dr. Brian D. Jaffe of Traverse City, Mich., in a letter last July that was included in the court documents. “I will not, however, work with a company that put profit and image in front of good patient care and honesty in device manufacturing.”
The newly disclosed records, which come from the files of Mr. McCoy, could add to the company’s legal problems as it defends itself against allegations that it put patients at risk by not publicizing defects. At least seven patients have died in connection with short circuits in three models of Guidant defibrillators, devices that use electricity to interrupt potentially fatal heart rhythms…
…In late 2004, Guidant had about 35 percent of the heart device market; today, its share is hovering around 24 percent, according to analysts’ estimates.
Despite all the mistrust, bad outcomes and bad PR, Guidant still commanded a pretty penny from its buyer, which eventually turned out to be Boston Scientific. Their work is cut out for them.