Last year, news broke that power morcellator surgical devices used in hundreds of thousands of hysterectomies could cause the spread of deadly uterine cancer, and that 1 in 350 women could be affected.
Most of the involved parties acted swiftly to limit the risk to future patients: major surgical centers announced they were halting use of the devices; the FDA recommended limiting their use; and the largest manufacturer of the machines stopped selling them.
However, there was one report in May 2014 from the AAGL, American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, that advised morcellators were still safe and doctors should keep using them.
At the time, the report seemed suspicious given the mounting evidence against morcellators. However, the credibility of the surgical association gave it weight.
Now, the AAGL itself has disclosed that the report may have been biased, as at least one doctor on the panel responsible for publishing it had a strong financial interest in seeing that surgeons continued to use morcellators.
As reported first by the Wall Street Journal, the AAGL president at the time of the report, Ceana Nezhat, admitted that Dr. Arnold Advincula joined the panel regarding morcellator use despite the fact he had been paid to promote the devices by a leading morcellator manufacturer.
Reports now show Advincula received more than $50,000 from morcellator maker Blue Endo over a year, to promote the company’s products.
The placement of Advincula on the panel violated the AAGL’s own policies regarding conflicts of interest, Nezhat argued in an email originally sent last May. The organization implemented tougher standards to prevent such conflicts in 2013, however, Advincula was already on the committee by that time so was allowed to stay.
The question raised by DrugNews is, why would any self-respecting doctor who had taken the Hippocratic Oath to protect his patients risk his reputation by putting the interests of a company first?
In November, the FDA acted to limit morcellator use in most hysterectomies and fibroid removal surgeries. However, experts estimate thousands of women may have been affected.
Lawyers say anyone diagnosed with cancer after undergoing a hysterectomy may be eligible for a sizable financial recovery to help with their treatment. They have already helped many file a morcellator lawsuit.
DrugNews can provide more information on the warnings and litigation surrounding power morcellator use, or put you in touch with a qualified morcellator lawyer. Contact us for help.
Wasserman, E. Report recommending power morcellator devices to docs reveals conflict of interest. FiercePharma (February 17, 2015). Retrieved from http://www.fiercemedicaldevices.com/story/report-recommending-power-morcellator-devices-docs-reveals-conflict-interes/2015-02-17?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal
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