Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Verdict

A cadre of attorneys sat amongst the defendants. How much time, money, and energy has gone into a trial and a sentencing hearing?  For what?  As the sentencing hearing for three current and one former Synthes employees unfolded, one must ask oneself, what provokes us to act this way, and in the end, was it really worth it?  Regardless of Judge Davis' decision to incarcerate or not, Norian was sold to Kensey Nash for $22 million dollars, a wash, considering Synthes was slapped with a $23.6 million dollar fine for its complicity in this debacle. These four men and their families stand to have their lives altered, forever, by actions that could have been and should have been averted.  But as one looks at these four individuals, what about the victims?  The fact remains that three innocent people died, their families lives changed forever.

The attorney for Tom Higgins, Adam Hoffinger, argued that the evidence of intent was insufficient.  Unfortunately, the conspirators were complicit in a cover-up. With the exception of one local attorney, the attorneys surrounding the convicted were from high powered Washington, D.C. law firms. Attorneys would like Judge Davis to utilize a strict definition of the "Responsible Corporate Officer doctrine."   The RCO doctrine are legal principles that typically shield corporate officers and its shareholders from direct possible liability for legal violations by the company, consistent with what has been argued that a corporation has a distinct and separate legal liability. Yet, based on recent activity in the media and by the government, authorities may be planning a more aggressive use of this doctrine.  Will Judge Davis' decision to incarcerate establish a new precedent?

TSB spoke to a few attorneys regarding this trial, and the common theme seems to be that whenever a death occurs, judges seems to be less lenient. Judge Davis even reprimanded one of the attorneys for attempting to introduce evidence during the hearing. But then one must ask oneself, will Justice succumb to corporate influence and philanthropy? Synthes and Hansjoerg Wyss are known as pillars in the Philadelphia area. As one of our bloggers posted on Monday, if corporations want campaign finance reform, Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee, changing the rules of money in politics, providing the corporation with the equivalent of free speech as an individual, the time has come that they be treated like individuals when it comes to accountability and culpability in breaking the laws, especially when death is a by product of greed.

In closing, the tension and anxiety that Huggins, Higgins, Boehner and Walsh are experiencing must be agonizing at best, yet, one must still ask oneself, was it really worth it?  The sweet smell of freedom is worth more than $22 million dollars.  The freedom of a cold beer on a hot summers day, watching your children smile, or just smelling the roses is priceless. In the end maybe we will all learn something, unfortunately, TSB finds that hard to believe, because as Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

34 comments:

  1. Einstein also stuck to his beliefs, regardless of popular thought. Always the free thinker, blunt critic and the north on his own compass, he struggled to get even a patent clerk position where he finally became who we know him as today. Perhaps, as I hope we will see in medical devices and spine specifically, we need to be our own - and better - moral compass and distance ourselves from this crap. For those of you desperate to make the short-sighted bucks, you're driving home the nails for yourselves, us and, worst of all, literally, for some patients.

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  2. TSB, can you explain to a simple minded Philadelphian what pillar function Hans Joerg Wyss exactly has? All I see is a huge ego, who in his days as owner/captain of Synthes was aware of every project that his company embarked upon. As the Sunday article said, he directed his minions to go down this ill-fated path. So why is it that he, who from a reponsibility and moral perspective deserves it most, escapes indictment? Political contributions, i.e. bribes? Evidence in exchange for immunity? Multimillion donation to the local museum or university (to be announced in the future)? I don't know, but it stinks to high heaven. Justice in Philadelphia works in strange ways, just remember Globus...

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  3. What about the PD/marketing people responsible for XR. Do they simply state "I was directed to develop a technique and other support pieces", when they should have known better as well??

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  4. Hang 'em high. Maximum sentences are warranted, though a 12mo term is too lenient. Davis has no choice but to send these scumbags to jail. If he does not he is telling the entire medical community that it is acceptable to illegally trial products on human subjects, even when deaths may occur. You can just make it up to those affected and the citizens of this country by paying a small fine.

    7:20 is spot on. There were many, many people who knew that they were breaking laws. Shame on all of you who didn't have the courage to speak up. Crack dealers, pimps, and Synthes employees - birds of a feather.

    Hopefully those looking to jump ship from Synthes get the same scrutiny that the criminals from CR Bard got back in the 90s. No one wanted to touch those people.

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    Replies
    1. Most of them kept their jobs and work for Johnson & Johnson now... Baby Powder anyone?

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  5. For attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young - let the wise listen and add to their learning, let the discerning get guidance - for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

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  6. 6:17

    Will Lloyd Blankfein take the fall for Goldman gaming the system? HHBW are the Fabulous Fab Toure's of the spine world. If sentenced to a one year, they will serve 80% of their term in a minimum security prison. As for Wyss, do you actually believe that I was being complimentary in my description of he and Synthes. As they say in the old neighborhood, he couldn't give a rats ass. Until someone does the perp walk, and spends some time getting violated by bubba, this shit will never end.

    Remember what the Airplane sang;

    one generation got old
    one generation got soul
    This generation got no destination to hold
    Pick up the cry, now its time for you and me
    Got to revolution, Got to revolution

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  7. All of you reckless CEOs and corporate leaders out there should keep an eye on this. Keep these four a-holes in mind the next time you push your teams to skirt the regulations.

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  8. This is not the end of the lawsuits for Synthes, or should I say J&J now. There was a group reselling used drill bits over and over again. One Synthes rep and a manager were escorted out of Halifax Medical Center in Florida. There is a current investigation going on there.

    I look forward to seeing a bunch of these greedy scum bags serving time in the Pen. I hope they throw the book at all of them. Somebody needs to set an example.

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  9. 10:22
    Don't be an idiot. The majority of company leaders are ethical and not stupid and don't "push their teams to skirt the regulations". As in any industry there are always those that will push the envelop, but I don't know of any that would risk killing someone to hit a number. This industry may have some less than dynamic retreads, but I would bet the majority are ethical good people.

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  10. The ethical path is always the path I chose.

    Sincerely,
    Jim Tressel

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  11. Synthes PD. HA! Maybe lanza and flesher cut a deal since they were behind the products marketing

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  12. 11:12,
    My post did not quantify the target audience, it merely warned those to whom it was applicable. Also, I did not imply death would result in skirting regulations. Only that it is breaking the law.

    Have you been told before that you have issues with comprehension?

    BTW, your conclusion was made weaker by your wagered premise. I hope that you're not too idiotic so that you understand that point.

    I suspect that you are either naive or uninvolved.

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  13. 11:51

    1. "All you reckless CEO's and corporate leaders out there", certainly quantifies the target audience.
    2. No
    3. "your conclusion was made weaker by your wagered premise", what the f are you talking about.
    4. I rest my case "idiot"

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  14. 10:22
    You did throw out a rather preachy blanket statement that could be construed to imply that there are a number of bad apples out there. Came across like class warfare. You must be someone who has been passed over for promotion, but are really clever at taking apart sentences and critizing those above you. That is a lot easier than actually trying to run a company. I have come across a number of people like you in my career.

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  15. 12:05,
    1) Please research quantification vs qualification
    2) You indeed have a comprehension issue. For proof see #1.
    3) Premises and conclusions are elements of structured arguments. Please refrain from attempting to use them until you fully understand how to properly do so.
    4) See point #3

    12:17, check you out. You sure seem to think you know a lot about someone from a two sentence post. Perhaps you are projecting? People may say that you are jumping to conclusions. That is not a good trait for someone at any level in an organization. You should work on dropping that bad habit.

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  16. TSB thank you very much for the referral out to the whole field/blog group. I am currently up in the Sacramento area and have been in the Spine field for over 11 years with a solid background and professional achievements. However, due to a family members failing health and the need to take care of my family, I need to possibly relocate down to the Bay Area (East Bay or North Bay). My current company is offering little support so I am reaching out to this blog for any bones. Ideally I would like a direct position and am open to an Area Manager or Regional Sales Manager position, but am open. Much would be appreciated to anyone. Again, I am looking for serious consideration. I can be emailed at onespineguy@hotmail.com. Thank you to you all, best of luck selling and God bless

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  17. 1:18, please don't think me callous for this question, just due diligence. Is your current employer letting you out of your non-compete agreement?

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  18. Non-compete agreement = Non-binding in CA.

    Only go to a head hunter if your desperate. Good Luck!

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  19. There is NO non-compete I am tied to whatsoever! I appreciate you asking and allowing me to clarify. Also, what 1:55 says is true. As what I have experienced here in California, Non-competes are hard to uphold cause we are a "right to work" state. Hire & fire at anytime.I have been a 1099 with one company for over 7 years. I had my name out there with some head hunters but found it to me a complete waste of time. Thanks again for all that have taken time to either email or contact me through TSB.

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  20. ANYBODY EVER HEAR OF A COMPANY CALLED HEALTH TRANS, FROM DENVER?

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  21. OK 12:50 you win. You are way too smart for me. Obviously your main reason for posting is to show how smart you are and not really have a discussion. I recognize your post since you alway say someone has a comprehension issue. Seems to be your mantra. You remind me of my x wife. Never was right about anything ever with her either. I am sure everyone is tired of this lover's spat, so I give up. Gotta go direct my people to skirt the regulations.

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  22. can someone explain what happened with the Synthes thing? I don't know what you guys are talking about - thanks

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  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  24. That's funny 4:55.

    What's the story with these four guys? When do they get sentenced?

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  25. Perhaps this will serve as a "wake-up call" to those at Nuvasive or "preach" a "lay no hands" policy as it relates to prepping a patient when using Neurovision, yet a significant # of Nuvasive people (direct & dist. reps alike) still take it upon themselves to prep patients prior to surgery.

    Lord knows how many lawsuits have already involved that product over the years,,

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  26. What do illegal product studies and NuVa reps have in common? Granted, the NuVa guys are still breaking policy, but still apples to oranges...

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  27. Sentencing will be this week, may take till Friday.

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  28. But Wyss and his 12 billion will go free.

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  29. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  30. RIP Jeff Guyer - The Spine Industry will miss your innovation and dedication....

    http://ryortho.com/spine.php?news=1231_Jeffrey-Guyers-Legacy

    http://jeffsfightwithcancer.blogspot.com/

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  31. I think WE SHOULD ALL take a moment and reflect just how fragile life is. We all are in this business I hope to heal patients and so was Jeff Guyer. While I have never worked for NuVa I certainly have see the success that came about due to his hard work and dedication.
    RIP Jeff.

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  32. Well, now we have national attention .. http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2012/09/18/synthes-norian-criminal/?iid=SF_F_River

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  33. nymousJune 7, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    10:22
    Don't be an idiot. The majority of company leaders are ethical and not stupid and don't "push their teams to skirt the regulations". As in any industry there are always those that will push the envelop, but I don't know of any that would risk killing someone to hit a number. This industry may have some less than dynamic retreads, but I would bet the majority are ethical good people.

    I'm not sure if this statement from 2011 was in disbelief that any corporate officers "intentionally" killed people. But I guaranty you that in this case they did. The evidence is clear (and substantiated that they knew they were gon to "kill" people bUT the rewards were higher tHan the expected costs). The update to this blog is that HYW, Synthes, the three corporate officers that pled guilty, University of Washington/ Washington State and Dr Chapman are facing criminal Rico charges for the death of a patient lost on the operating table in 2007. The test market and funds kept flowing even after the federal investigation period. The surgeon, Dr Chapman, a paid consultant of Synthes, holder of the Hans Wyss Chair at the UW. Lost 2 patients in 2007, and one in 2009 from injecting Norian cement in their spinesystem
    without approval.
    There is not enough media on this important case with its precident setting results on corporations being allowed to experiment on human subjects without their knowledge or aproval. We should all support this case and media attention in an effort to quelch this behavior by people such as HJW by "throwing the book at them" and set a precident that other corporations will take note of.

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