Abbott Labs VP Suggests Having Mob Beat Up Columnist Who Exposed Shady Dealings

from the after-that,-he-might-need-a-heart-stent dept

There’s a rather incredible story over in the Baltimore Sun about the extent Abbott Laboratories’ execs went to in their effort to sell more of their heart stents. This is not a unique story, but every time I see a similar story, it serves as a reminder of the problems of putting “healthcare” in the hands of companies who have every incentive to sell you snake oil — especially when that snake oil is patented and they can charge ridiculous monopoly rents for it.

The story involves a heart stent sold by Abbott. Apparently, Abbott cultivated a few doctors and plied them with all sorts of… well… most people would probably refer to them as bribes… to implant more stents. The article focuses on one Dr. Mark Midei, who “set a record” by implanting 30 stents in one day. That would be great if those stents saved lives. Problem is… a study earlier this year showed that stents were no better than drugs for many patients. Now, in some cases, they can certainly be helpful, but there was little indication that Midei made much of an effort to see if the over 2,000 stents he was implanting per year were really necessary. Perhaps this is why:

Abbott feted Midei at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. It paid $1,235 for an ” Alabama Pig Pickin'” barbecue at his Monkton home two days after the 30-stent marathon. A month earlier it paid $690 for beer and crabs served during a meeting at his house to discuss Abbott’s “business strategy.”

Also, that 30 implants in one day was referred to as “Project Victory” within Abbott, and it was talked about how the company should continue to do more for Midei, such as “VIP trips.” Oh, on top of that, after it came out that many of those stents never should have been installed, Abbott rewarded Midei by hiring him as a “consultant” to tell the world how wonderful Abbott’s stents were.

So when all this started coming out in the press, Abbott responded with some (one hopes, joking) emails about how they should go beat up the Baltimore Sun columnist who was reporting on the issue.

“Don’t you have connections in Baltimore?????” Pacitti e-mailed a subordinate regarding a January column I wrote on heart-artery stents. “Someone needs to take this writer outside and kick his ass! Do I need to send in the Philly mob?”

Again, one hopes he’s joking, but it again demonstrates the problems with letting these kinds of companies define healthcare in the US. I’m not against the ability to profit in healthcare, but shouldn’t the profit be about actually keeping people healthy?

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: abbott labs

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Abbott Labs VP Suggests Having Mob Beat Up Columnist Who Exposed Shady Dealings”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
34 Comments
someone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

This is a problem of Greed, not “capitalist market demands.”

If people committed illegal acts, they should be prosecuted.
Just because Abbott VP did this, does not mean that all business people would partake in such nefarious dealings.

Attack the bad people, not the “capitalist market”

Having Government run health care will not fix this problem, be careful what you wish for.

If the Government ran our healthcare, then the Abbott VP would be bribing the Government regulators/politicians, not the doctors.

A Banana Jr 6000 Republic, if you can keep it. says:

Re: Re: 'does not mean that all business people would partake in such nefarious dealings'

But ITRW, competition drives the other Abbotts of the borg to ‘compete’.
This kind of ‘borderline’ ethics is actually normal. Every once in a while a sacrificial Enron walks the plank. While the others ‘compete’ on.

Yo ho ho... says:

Broken

Pharma has been sheltered and broken for a lonnnnnnng time in this country. For example, people are dying everyday because pharma companies won’t allow other producers to manufacture the same medicines, treatments, etc. even when they can not keep up with demand. Even if royalty streams are offered!

This is a very sick industry in this country. You can’t fault the practitioners — not with the money that pharma throws around DC to protect their interests (and keep it our of the press).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There is no scale because the problems are highlighted, but rarely the successes or day to day “job completed”. The federal government is currently handling millions of unemployement applications, checks, and so on, and everything works.

It is like car travel. You never see a headline like “1 million people got home safely last night”, but you do get “Two hurt is horrible collision”. It is easy to highlight the failures, but there is way more successful outcomes every day.

I think it would make the problems seem minor, but that wouldn’t be good for writing a nagging blog, now would it?

Anonymous Coward says:

I think everyone should see a documentary called “The Corporation” (just google “the corporation film” to find a link the homepage for it). Not to say that there are not good corporations out there, but when you look at the likes of BP, Halberton, the drug companies, etc., if they were real people, many of them would be undergoing psych treatment of some sort. They are worse than the worst spoiled kid you have seen while out shopping… ๐Ÿ™

Anonymous Coward says:

I think everyone should see a documentary called “The Corporation” (just google “the corporation film” to find a link the homepage for it). Not to say that there are not good corporations out there, but when you look at the likes of BP, Halberton, the drug companies, etc., if they were real people, many of them would be undergoing psych treatment of some sort. They are worse than the worst spoiled kid you have seen while out shopping… ๐Ÿ™

Hugo Chavez says:

naivete

You are a fool to believe that the world’s largest criminal institution, the US Government (as demonstrated in the Wikileaks cables), will make things better.

Instead we will have a health care gestapo, akin to the TSA, enforcing the goverment’s will on the little people, while the elite gets more and pays less than now.

I’ll say it again, to insure you understand: You are a fool to believe what you do.

Jesse says:

“Again, one hopes he’s joking, but it again demonstrates the problems with letting these kinds of companies define healthcare in the US. I’m not against the ability to profit in healthcare, but shouldn’t the profit be about actually keeping people healthy?”

How often does more profit benefit anyone other than those profiting? More competition yes…but usually competition makes profit more challenging.

Anonymous Coward says:

LOLZ, David Pacitti had a LinkedIn profile, but not anymore. I would imagine Abbott has reassigned him, possibly giving him the ability to spend more time with his family.

Yes, it was a stupid email, probably a joke, and I can kind of understand that.

The real outrage should be directed at the doctor. As a human, I don’t expect Pfizer to look out for my well being. I do expect my doctor to only be concerned with my health.

Maybe that is the problem, we have forgotten that doctors are in business also.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop ยป

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...