At least the drug companies are not alone in buying off doctors. This time it is a criminal investigation into ortho docs who have been paid handsomely by device manufacturers to use their implants. No one is accusing these docs of compromising patient safety, but it is illegal to accept kickback payments AND be a Medicare provider.

This reminds me of a recent conversation I had with an orthopaedic resident (I am summarizing the conversation for obvious purposes):

ME: “How many of these surgeries do you plan to do?”

RES: “Well we’ve not been doing too many, but my attending is good friends with the sales rep from company B, so we will probably stop using company A and do more surgeries with B’s implant.”

ME: “Oh, he’s friends with the guy?”

RES: “Yeah, they go fishing, and my attending stays at his cabin. They go on trips
all the time.”

ME: “I didn’t realize that implant had FDA approval yet!”

RES: “It doesn’t, but I think we’re kind of holding 0ff on surgeries
using company A while we wait for company B’s implant to get it.”

Hmmm.