Filed under “Follow the Money”
December 22, 2011
New Models of Implants Not Better, Study Finds
By BARRY MEIER

A new study suggests that the recent technology for artificial hips and knees did not perform any better than older, less expensive designs.

The study, which draws on data from Australia’s orthopedic registry, covered implants introduced from 2003 to 2007 and was published this week. The findings are significant for patients in the United States because many of the new designs, like so-called metal-on-metal hips, are widely used here. Those implants, which have both a ball and cup made of metal, are expected to fail prematurely in tens of thousands of patients rather than lasting 15 years or more as artificial joints are supposed to do.
The Australian study showed that not a single new artificial hip or knee introduced over a recent five-year period was any more durable than older ones. In fact, 30 percent of them fared worse…

“Not only has the introduction of this technology been potentially detrimental to patient care, but the current approach may be an important driver of increased health care costs,” the review concluded...

That review, by researchers in Austria (mistake, should be Australia), found that surgeons involved in the original published reports are often involved in its development and may have a financial stake in them. In addition, such reviews tend to be short term...
This month, bipartisan legislation was introduced in the Senate that could force manufacturers to track the performance of implants like artificial hips after they have been approved for sale. Proponents of the bill acknowledge that the measure faces an uphill fight.
Both device producers and their allies in Congress have maintained that any additional F.D.A. regulations would slow the development and marketing of innovative products that benefit patients. For his part, Dr. Graves, the Australian official, said he believed that such arguments were misleading.

Where have we heard that before?? That regulation will somehow damage innovation, or hurt business and job creation? Just about every time any sort of regulation is proposed, that’s when.
Info on my practice here.