Friday, June 03, 2005

Guidant's Short Circuit, Reloaded

The NY Times reported that after Guidant discovered a defect in its implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) that allowed the device to short-circuit and fail, it continued to ship ICDs with the defect even after it had started manufacturing redesigned devices without the flaw.
Our post about the discovery of the flaw is here.
Guidant's statement about the matter was, "After making these improvements, Guidant sold product manufactured before the improvements because the reliability data showed that the original PRIZM 2 DR, like the enhanced version, was a highly reliable life-saving device. Current data continues to support the reliability of the product."
The Times reported, "some doctors said they would be dismayed if the company allowed them to implant a device with a known flaw that had been corrected in other units."
As I said before, the decision about how to treat a patient's illness should be up to the doctor and patient, and be based on the best available data, as well as the patient's values. For a company to withold data relevant to the decision, which just happens to be unfavorable to the company's product, is plain wrong.

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