Monday, December 14, 2009

New Jersey: What You See, May not be What You Get!

On December 14th, the Gray Sheet reported that the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has advised the State's Attorney General, Annie "get your gun" Milgram, (aka Synthes best friend) that NJ Physicians should be required to report their financial ties with medical device and pharmaceutical firms as a condition of renewing their medical license. In addition to this report which was dated December 4, the NJDCA also recommends that product manufacturers be required to disclose payments and other transfers of value to physicians.

It was recommended that the NJ Board of Medical Examiners should ban doctors from accepting gifts, fees, free food or meals offered by devices makers to prevent potential for conflict in medical decision making. Who would think that a surgeon would have a conflict in making decisions if they were a consultant? Obviously, the State of NJ!

Now that Chris "I love to give my DOJ friends a monitoring job" Christie will be sworn in as Governor of the most corrupt state in the union, there's a new sheriff in town and his name isn't Reggie Hammond! Is this the beginning of the end to a practice that has been abused by many companies in our industry? The report recommends that physicians who enter into consulting or research deals should disclose accepting more than $200 during the preceding two years or risk not having their medical license renewed. TSB does think that the part about not being fed at training conferences is a bit ridiculous. Let's get serious legislators!

Will New Jersey join Massachusetts and Vermont as states that are mandating disclosure? Of course "the Godfather" elect for the Medical Society of NJ, Donald Cinotti commented that "medical decision making is predominantly influenced by health insurance companies through restricted drug formularies and pharmacy benefits managers." In addition he was quoted as saying that the state should go after the companies. Obviously Dr. Cinotti must be an Ophthalmologist because what you see is not necessarily what you get.

Even with an incoming Republican Governor, TSB smells socialism in the air! It's a conspiracy! TSB wants to know what our readers think?


  1. Not so much socialism as a feeble attempt at getting at those clinicians who rake in the millions under the guise of being brilliant product developers. But the question needs to be asked: how many John Charnleys, Marshall Urists and Raymond Roy Camilles are there today? Based on the endless stream of me-too products certainly not as many as there are physicians who have their names on patents, now that the classic consultant deal has become suspect. The ultimate inventor and abuser of the patent system is of course the person who patented the hollow tube that connects to the spine, and went beserk from there. He should have a patent on his method on how to work the system, rather than on the tube. The other alternative to consulting deals that is crying out for some legal and regulatory attention are the surgeon-investor funded companies. The sad and pathetic part is that all these efforts by states and AGs will not much affect the big players. Instead it will come down on the office staff that can no longer be given a free Hershey kiss, and the small companies that have to double their administrative staff to document and justify every expense over five dollars. Given this situation, one would almost welcome socialism.

  2. Me Too: How can anyone disagree with you? Like the NBA, the surgical talent pool is diluted, besides, white men can't jump! The difference is that at least the NBA provides mediocre entertainment. Like Lamar Oden of the LA Lakers, surgeons have too many distractions!

    Today, there are no Urist's, Camille's or Charnley's .......... who are the new visionaries? Michelson? Yuan? Hochshuler? Zdeblick? These men are pioneers that set the precedent for generations to come! A new paradigm with labels like Surgeon/Marketeer, the Surgeon/Investor, the Surgeon/Inventor, the Surgeon/Distributor, the Surgeon/Fund-Raiser, the Self Promoters, the PT Barnums of the Spine Industry. These men have come to be know as the greedy self-proclaimed Masters of the Spine Universe that cry out that government is too big, the FDA is hindering everyone's ability to innovate, and that Universal Healthcare threatens the basic tenants that this democracy was built upon. Glenn Beck would have made a great spine surgeon! Everyone is looking for a panacea. How quick can I perform my surgery, how small of an incision can I make, can the tools make me a better technician, it's called hand/eye coordination, can I make as much money as Lloyd Blankfein (probably not), unless you want to become a Hedge Fund Manager. The joke among older surgeons is that the new generation of surgeons spend so much time worrying about MIS that they cannot dissect properly, how scary is that? Let's drive a Mack Truck through a tiny incision.

    The reason government exists is to pull back when things start to get out of control, and right now, our industry is completely out of control. It's an us against them mentality and unless this internal tension changes we will lead to our own destruction.

  3. I know it's only rock n' roll but I like it, like it, yes I do!

  4. I shouted out
    "Who killed the Kennedys?"
    Well after all
    It was you and me.