Business Ethics Expert Discusses Alleged Sale of Defective Medical Devices


This case involves a dispute against a medical device company. The plaintiff alleges that the company was engaged in unethical business practices; they were selling and marketing defective imaging devices that eventually ended up getting recalled shortly after they were put on the market. It was alleged that the sterilization procedures used on products before shipment were inadequate, and several patients contracted serious infections after doctors used the devices on their patients. It was further alleged that the company was aware of the infected products.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please describe your background in business ethics.
  • 2. What experience do you have with ensuring the ethical selling of medical devices?

Expert Witness Response E-023161

I have extensive experience reviewing medical device and drug manufacturers for both FDA compliance and proper safety recording. In addition to serving as an independent reviewer, I currently develop and teach independent classes in a variety of FDA compliance topics. I can speak to not only the company’s lack of compliance when launching a new device, but also how a company should respond to safety issues that arise with the device’s use. The questions of focus here are: what did they know, and when did they know it, what the company should have known, and when they should have known it, and what the company should have done and when they should have done it. My first step would be to look at the initial 510(k) submission for this device and examine how truthful they were in their submission. The FDA has the assumption of complete information when the 510(k) is filed by the company, thus the company is responsible for ensuring their submission is truthful and accurate. A 510(k) for a medical device is different from a drug and must prove that the device is substantially equivalent to the predicate device. It is also possible that after the initial 510(k) submission, the company changed the design in a way that impacted the ability to sterilize it. I would be able to examine if they took the appropriate steps necessary when making such a change, should it be completing an additional 510(k) submission or informing the FDA in some way. In a case like this, the chronology of events is absolutely key. I am familiar with a hospital’s duty to report serious adverse events, such as superbug outbreaks, to the FDA. I would be able to review the hospital’s action in regards to informing the FDA of a superbug outbreak, or anything else that they knew of and had a duty to inform of.

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