Abbott Labs VP Suggests Having Mob Beat Up Columnist Who Exposed Shady Dealings
from the after-that,-he-might-need-a-heart-stent dept
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?