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09.24 Unlocking secrets of sea level rise in Greenland [15 minute video]
09.24 What are public lands?
09.24 Americans: the next climate migrants 'We're moving to higher ground': America's era of climate mass migration is here [estimates do not include migrants from other nations even more affected]
09.24 Opec predicts massive rise in oil production over next five years [wonderful for fossil fuel investors; terrible for all plants and animals]
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09.24 Brett Kavanaugh faces second allegation of sexual misconduct09.23 MARYLAND GOVERNOR REBUFFS CALL FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO BRETT KAVANAUGH ATTEMPTED RAPE ALLEGATIONS [Republicans above the law...]
09.19 'Killing a generation': one million more children at risk from famine in Yemen [Does America's government have empathy? Does it understand the concept of morality? The Saudi Air Force would be ineffective without U.S. military assistance...]
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09.18 Racist rioting in Chemnitz has reopened Germany’s east-west split [After 10,000 generations, we are all mixed-race. So let's become friends with our cousins instead!]
Hip to Profits: The Sleazy Business of Medical Device Manufacturing
First published in his blog Unsilent Generation yesterday, 2 November 2009
The latest issue of Mother Jones includes an article by Peter Stone on the shady dealings and inflated profits of the medical device industry. These companies make things like artificial joints and heart valves, which are often needed by older people—and paid for by Medicare.
In recent months, these companies have launched a huge lobbying blitz in response to provisions in the health care reform bills that would levy fees on their high-profit enterprise. The efforts apparently have not been wasted: In the latest versions of the legislation, the level of fees has dropped considerably (though that hasn’t stopped the manufacturers’ whining).
Compared with Big Pharma, the medical device industry has received relatively little media coverage or public attention, which makes this article worth reading in full. A few highlights:
Stone runs through cases that have led to hundreds of million in federal fines against medical device manufacturers in the last three years, including a $311 million settlement with the top five manufacturs of artificial hips and knees accused of giving doctors millions in kickbacks, often disguised as consulting fees.
Some effort to combat these practices has emerged from the Senate Special Committee on Aging, chaired by Wisconsin Democrat Herb Kohl, which held a “Surgeons for Sale” hearing last year, and in January introduced the Physician Payments Sunshine Act of 2009. This legislation, Stone writes, “would compel makers of medical devices, drugs, vaccines, and the like to publicly disclose any payment of more than $100 to a doctor; failure to report could result in fines of up to $1 million.”
Kohl is hoping the provision will become part of the final final draft of health care reform legislation. But the medical device manufacturers, in league with Big Pharma, will do everything they can to keep that from happening.
Born in 1936, James Ridgeway has been reporting on politics for more than 45 years. He is currently Senior Washington Correspondent for Mother Jones, and recently wrote a blog on the 2008 presidential election for the Guardian online. He previously served as Washington Correspondent for the Village Voice; wrote for Ramparts and The New Republic; and founded and edited two independent newsletters, Hard Times and The Elements.
Ridgeway is the author of 16 books, including The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11, It’s All for Sale: The Control of Global Resources, and Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads, and the Rise of a New White Culture. He co-directed a companion film to Blood in the Face and a second documentary film, Feed, and has co-produced web videos for GuardianFilms.
Additional information and samples of James Ridgeway’s work can be found on his web site, http://jamesridgeway.net.
This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on November 3, 2009.
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